Quick Post–Another Fox Present for Candace

Just a quick post, as Candace informs me that it’s my week.  I01Jan09casscam 033 painted this little guy up for Candace for Christmas.  I knew that I wanted to paint something for her and foxes are a theme we’ve been going with for her.  I searched online for a photo of a fox I might paint from and found a sweet little sleeping fox.  This is how it looked after one night’s painting.  I wanted to leave the background, but of course white paint mysteriously showed up on the edge.



01Jan09 115I added a simple background and a little more detail…



imageLater Candace had it framed.

2015 Music City Summer Series

2015 Music City Summer Series

2015 Music City Summer SeriesI’ve been a music booker for a long time – about half of my life – and I’ve always considered booking music an art.  When I work on a festival or music series, it uses up all of my creative energy in the same way that writing or acting does; it satisfies my drive to create in the same way.

I never really had the right words to describe it to people until someone – I can’t remember if it was Elizabeth Fennel or Fynn Leitch – said something in an online conversation that really resonated with me: “Curation is Creation.” In those three neat words so much of what I do as a booker is explained.

I’m not someone who likes booking a big headliner to end the show – I like a lineup that works like a long mixed tape, building a feeling, shaping a mood.  I believe that music can bring together a community, can create intergenerational and cross-cultural conversations and places.  I can and do book ticketed shows, but my preference leans heavily towards free shows in outdoor venues. ((Though I’m sometimes conflicted about that, as I think audiences should understand that art costs money.))

I love giving emerging artists an opportunity; I love introducing audiences to artists or sounds that they’ve never heard before. I love working with artists who are professional and pleasant, and I take care to book acts that will treat my crew, audiences, staff, and volunteers with respect.

The lineup for my weekly Music City Summer Series is something I’m very proud of; the brief was to book a series that spoke to the multiple distinct demographics of the Distillery District, and brought Roots/Country/Folk in counterpoint to the huge amount of Jazz and Latin American/Caribbean programming that we’ve got on throughout the rest of the Summer.

These are acts that, aside from being wonderful and very skilled, I also think are lovely people; it gives me a little thrill of pleasure to see the whole lineup laid out as it is below. So here it is, The Distillery District’s Music City Summer Series, 2015:

Music City Summer Series 2015 - The Double CutsThe Double Cuts
Wednesday June 3, 2015
Toronto’s most genial Western Swing band The Double Cuts draw from a timeless repertoire that sets audiences smiling and ready to dance.



Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Dirty DishesDirty Dishes
Wednesday June 10, 2015
Bringing a shine to every venue with their beautiful harmonies and extraordinary energy, The Dirty dishes have been touring the country breaking hearts and soothing souls at festivals and events throughout Canada.



Music City Summer Series 2015 -  The Boxcar BoysThe Boxcar Boys

Wednesday June 17, 2015, 6pm
Delivering a veritable gumbo of old-style jazz and folk music, The Boxcar Boys are a joyous acoustic celebration guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.


Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Suzie VinnickSuzie Vinnick
Wednesday June 24, 2015, 6pm
When Saskatoon native and Folk/Jazz/Blues artist Suzie Vinnick takes the stage, she takes it from the footlights to the rafters and owns it. Her powerful presence and skillful playing has left a lasting impression on audience across the country.



Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Kristine Schmitt and the Lonesome Ace StringbandKristine Schmitt and the Lonesome Ace Stringband 
Wednesday July 1, 2015, 6pm
Kristine Schmitt is a Toronto-based singer-songwriter, specializing in material both drawn from and influenced by music from the early part of the twentieth century. Whether it’s a fifties country ballad, an old mountain tune, a salty twenties blues number, a swinging thirties jazz tune, or belting out one of her own, you’d better hang on tight!


Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Red Moon RoadRed Moon Road
Wednesday July 8, 2015, 6pm
Born in a storm on a wild Canadian lake, Canada’s most energetic and endearing folk trio brings masterful storytelling and a lush and lively take on modern roots music.



Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Miranda MulhollandMiranda Mulholland
Wednesday July 29, 2015, 6pm

Canadian virtuoso fiddler and singer Miranda Mulholland’s music has a subtle power and distinctive personality. Mixing Jazz, Folk, and Roots music seamlessly, she thrives on diversity. a member of Great Lakes Swimmers and Belle Star, her solo work reflects her skill and experience, bringing her own unique style to the fore.


Music City Summer Series 2015 -  The Young NovelistsThe Young Novelists

Wednesday August 5, 2015, 6pm
Through their rich-but-rustic sound, Toronto Roots/Rock outfit The Young Novelists deliver raw but elegant instrumentation and stacked, multi-layered harmonies.


Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Kaia KaterKaia Kater

Wednesday August 12, 2015, 6pm
An eclectic traditionalist, Kaia Kater offers a unique take on Appalachian and Canadian traditional music through banjo and voice.



Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Melissa PayneMelissa Payne
Wednesday August 19, 2015, 6pm
Part velvet, part gravel, Melissa Payne’s voice stands out – her playing on fiddle and guitar a demonstration in passion and graceful restraint, her songs stomp and holler like a heatbeat leaving audiences enthralled.



Music City Summer Series 2015 -  Patrick BrealeyPatrick Brealey 
Wednesday August 26, 2015, 6pm
Blending Folk, Country, and Blues, Patrick Brealey is filled to the brim with swagger, tenderness, and charisma. Whether through his clever songwriting or quick sense of humour, he captivates crowds wherever he performs.



13 Year Quilt

13 year quilt Yup! There it is, my super red 13 year quilt, finally finished.  This baby began in 2002 when I was in theEYE program, spring 2002 EYE program at the Peterborough Youth Emergency Shelter.  We were encouraged to create some of our own programming, and I was looking to get some experience sewing, so one of the other members suggested that her mom might take me in at her sewing shop.  I went in one afternoon a week and sewed together strips of fabric into squares for log cabin quilts to be donated later.  In addition to this, I also was taught how to make a simple garment.  Lessons I learned in the back room of that sewing shop have stayed with me for many of my sewing projects since.  03Mar07 219

Following this experience, I decided that I’d like to make my own quilt. CassCanQuiltNanas_NEW I’ve always loved the combination of red and black and chose this as my colour theme.  I took my time collecting fabric, cutting strips and piecing the quilt.  I did it in the same style as those I had been working on in the sewing shop.  I can’t find many pictures from this time, but I’ll add more as I find them.  Once the body of the quilt was assembled, with mom’s help, I strung it up on an old quilt frame that my grandpa had made (I believe this was based on the one in the upstairs of the Fitzpatrick home at Lang Pioneer Village, which connects to how the quilt is finally finished).

The quilt frame was bulky and hard to work with, which lead to less and less 08Aug20_2013Lynn 146frequent bouts of quilting, and then the quilt eventually came off, with plans to find something my convenient.  Fast forward to 2013, I’m working at Lang Pioneer Village.  I snag one of the rug hookers’ hoops and put it on my quilt… presto! I’m a lap-quilter.  I was allowed to bring my quilt to work (which I’m super-grateful for, it may have been another five years) when I was stationed in appropriate buildings and was able to press forward with my quilt.  I worked on it one or two days my second summer at Lang and it was time for some outer edge-quilty-decision-making time.  10351725_10154562828465247_4604935370911182285_n

If anyone knows my family, they know that creative decisions can hold up a project for some time.  I finally decided how to do the border and finished it up by January.

IMG_9606            01Jan31casscam 019         03Mar07 200      03Mar07 19201Jan31casscam 017

Mom and some kittens helped me with the final stages, then finally it was done, January17, 2015.  The cats all approved.  I”m pretty sure that my quilt holds on to all of the memories of the years it took to finish it, probably making it extra snugly and warm.


P.S.  If anyone from the Peterborough Youth Emergency Shelter comes across this, I’m looking for a copy of the super-awesome CD that we made as a group.  I need to hear it!! :)03Mar07 20501Jan31casscam 023


Little Foxy Headband for Candace


For Christmas I decided to knit my sister Candace a fox-themed ear-warmer/headband.  Luckily right before Christmas she destroyed her old one which my sister Cassie had knit years before.  The design for the cute little cartoon-like fox was taken from someone’s pin on Pinterest…and I just made up the rest.



imageAt first the edge was extremely silly-looking and stuck out like a rim.  I altered it, but the outcome isn’t exactly how I had pictured it.  I think it’s still cute and wearable though.


Mermaid Sparkle Tutu

Mermaid Sparkle TutuI made this sweet sparkly skirt as a Christmas present for Sammi.  I had been trying to figure out what to get for her when we found ourselves at a Sam Roberts concert.  The opening band was all ’90s altrock mashed in to one and too loud, but Sammi really liked the keys player’s outfit.  Specifically her top, which was a lose black shift (I think that’s what you’d call it) with rainbow sequins.

As I plugged my ears (still hearing the music perfectly clearly) I thought of how a similar shirt would probably be easy to make and totally possible before Christmas.

The inspiration.The next week I set out to fabricland with mom to scout out fabric options.  There wasn’t really fabric like what I was looking for, although there was a nice pink/pale rainbow one that I thought might do.  There was, however (yes biology students, this is when you use “however”, not just randomly when you want to sound ‘smart’), a sparkly mesh that caught my eye.  We didn’t buy anything that day, but the crinoline crazy stuff stayed in my brain.  I went back in a festive mania and bought the sequins, two colours of sparkle crinoline and a generic crinoline (in case I needed more volume).  Everyone else was festive at the store too and many people asked me about my project, and were shocked (ish) that I had no real plan.



I consulted some online tutorials and made a mental plan.  Tonnes of sparkles came off of the crazy fabric. The cats couldn’t stop themselves from helping at all stages.  I started with about 3m of the aqua, folding it over and basting.  Then I made wide square pleats in it and sewed again.  I then sectioned the 1m of blue-green and sewed it in to one long hoop and added

that to the aqua loop.Mess'o'sparkles01Jan09 12901Jan09 119kitten getting in to things/another helper01Jan09 12701Jan09 125

I figured out the basic size of the waistband to get over some hips and made it out of some scrap that as Testing the waistbandliterally lying around.  It turned out to be pretty much the perfect colour. I gathered and sewed, then inserted some elastic.  I put that badboy on the judy and pulled up sections, sewing them in place by hand.  this provided a good amount of volume for the skirt.


It all turned out pretty cool.  There was plenty of fabric that I didn’t even touch, which I gave with the present.  There will be another sparkle project…Grey, admiring the skirt from beneath




The final product. Yay!!



Weekend knitting retreat

IMG_9709September, 2014

At some point, Sammi decided that we all needed a little retreat.  She had been looking at Air B&B for places to stay while she did a class at Haliburton School of the Arts and, deciding that cottages might not work out for that purpose, chose one that might be nice for us to go to.  IMG_9237

Being the people that we are, and knowing that at least part of the point of of going to a cottage is to be bored, we decided to bring crafting projects along with us.  I (cassie) had recently finished my yellow/green shawl and Sammi had knit one super fast.  Mom was also looking for a project the she could make with some “art wool” for the speavers (Peterborough Hand Weavers and Spinners Guild).image

Candace bought wool before the trip because she wanted to try out the shawl pattern too.  One day we went to a wool shop while in Halliburton and Sammi couldn’t resist, but buy some wool to make a second one. Her shawl started at the cottage was obviously finished before anyone else’s.  So everyone worked on the shawl pattern.

imageAnyway, the cottage was sweet and just enough space for us.  We did all of the cottage-y things available to us: canoe with a hole, paddle boat that went in circles, walk to natural pond where we touched small creatures…10Oct31 164there was even a nice platform by the water where we had a few yoga sessions.  Mostly we ate and worked on our projects.  The shawl pattern is great because it works with all types of wool, giving a different but IMG_9287pleasing result.  Since I had finished my shawl and could not find the pattern for the socks I’m working on, I quilted.  I still consider the cottage time to be a knitting retreat.    Sammi getting Candace startedimageIMG_9606imageIMG_9615

Raptors Tuque for Curtis

Curtis’ Raptors Tuque


The initial idea for this knitting project was not a toque, but a neck warmer.  Something not unlike a scarf or a cowl, but also similar to a leg warmer.  Something that keeps your neck warm and just slips easily over your head.  I consulted my sister as to whether Curtis, Cassie’s partner, needed a toque or a scarf-like thing more and she informed me that he already had an official Raptors toque, so a neck warmer might be more useful.








imageI waimages a little worried as to whether I would be able to get the Raptor claw logo right or not… there are so many angles and rounded shapes that I wasn’t sure if it would translate to knitting well.  It turns out, it translated pretty nicely and I’m happy with the result.  Using graph paper, natural light, a window a good print of the logo, a pencil and a little bit of aesthetic decision-making gave me a comparable logo.imageimageimage











After being a little unhappy with the result of my neck-warmer and after a ‘fitting’ session with Curtis and some discussion about his preferences, I decided to refashion the neck-warmer into a toque.  It needed a pom-pom in order to look finished.  The results seem to be pretty decent.





Needle-Felted Owl

Needle-Felted Owl

Needle-Felted OwlA couple of weeks ago, I was up in Cobourg visiting friends, eating lots of delicious food, and attending the Shelter Valley Folk Festival‘s Annual General Meeting.  My awesome friend Lesley ((Who not only has a great and very funny blog but also is starting an excellent project called ‘Northumberland Small Time‘))had me over for brunch and crafternoon, and we took a quick trip over to The Black Lamb in Port Hope to pick up needle-felting supplies.

Needle-Felted OwlI’ve been meaning to buy some needle-felting supplies for a long time, but none of the wool stores in Toronto seem very well-stocked for that sort of thing; The Black Lamb, however, has plenty of great colours and supplies, and is pretty awesome for anyone working in wool.

I’ve only ever made one needle-felted object before – a little snow man, which I made at a Peterborough Hand-Weavers and Spinners Guild meeting – and I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, but it’s a pretty straightforward skill to pick up, at least for simple projects.

Anyway, I made a cute little owl – I think maybe it’s a barn owl. As they Needle-Felted Owlused to say in Brownies, ‘too-whit, too-woo!’


Waterfall Wedding Present

07july10casscam 10107july10casscam 102IMG_20141016_16533538011Nov16CassCam 097I 11Nov16CassCam 051generally have an avoidance for painting outdoor scenes.  I think that it’s because if I’m outside, I really have no idea how to focus and frame, unless I’m looking at something small.  This painting and its subject matter came about because of the upcoming (when I started) marriage of Sammi’s best friend Mary and her lovely husband, Daniel.  We decided we would work together to make a gift for them.  At the time, they were living in Kansas, and although I’ve never been to Kansas, I picture it as being rather flat.  We agreed that it would be good to make a painting of a waterfall from Daniel’s hometown to remind them of the east.  Sammi had a really nice picture that she had taken of Taughannock Falls (so she did all of the cropping) that we decided would be great to paint from.  IMG_20140930_135154551

We planed to paint it together, but as I started drawing it out on the board, I felt a panic, like it was totally outside my comfort zone.  I had the feeling that we wouldn’t finish it, but that maybe if I plugged away at it alone it might eventually get it done.  I think I took pictures of the process more to make sure that it got past the point of each photo than to document.  I had never attempted to paint rocks before.  They were tough to get through, as they were just various shades of brown without much excitement.  As I finished those I realized that I hadn’t attempted ice and snow either.  It was much more fun and moved along more quickly, as well as the water.  I saved the details of the falls for the end.  I had painted an under painting and adding the final frozen water was quite enjoyable.  Sammi had the painting framed at Christensen’s Fine Art.  M&D didn’t get the painting until months after the wedding, but they seemed happy with it.

11Nov15 044 IMG_20141206_09415449701Jan09casscam 055

Embroidered Turtle Ornament

Embroidered Turtle Ornament

Embroidered Turtle OrnamentMy mom and sisters and I are all fans of the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre, a great charity that works to support Ontario’s native turtles.  Many native turtle species are on the ‘at risk’ list, and KTTC work to educate the public, conserve wetlands, and make Ontario a safer place for turtles.

I’m generally not a big fan of charities, but this one’s a good one, in my opinion.

Anyhow, they had a fund raiser planned called ‘The Art of the Turtle,’ and asked artists to create turtle ornaments and donate them to sell at their event.  We decided to each make an ornament for this great cause.

Embroidered Turtle Ornament
As you can see, the kittens were extremely helpful as I was working, holding the fabric so that it didn’t slip. I

I didn’t have a lot of time to get to this project, so worked on it while I was home for Thanksgiving back in October.

I’d wanted to do something sparkly to catch the light, but was more drawn to embroidery, and knew I could make something that glowed with colour.  I research some Metis and Northern European embroidery and beadwork, and got to work.

Embroidering is a nice way to spend the time, particularly if you’ve got a happy cat – or a whole clutch of happy kittens – in your lap (as long as they don’t get too interested in your embroidery floss).

Since I’m working on a dark felt, and didn’t have a good way to draw on it, I sketched out the basic pattern in white thread.

I embroidered the outline in chain stitch, one of my least-favourtite stitches to do, but one that fills space with colour pretty fast.

Embroidered Turtle Ornament
Then I began to fill in the sections of the shell; at first, I was doing backstitch, but switched back to chain stitch because it wasn’t showing the colours very well.


Embroidered Turtle Ornament
The shell, nearly complete.



Embroidered Turtle Ornament
I try to keep the back neat and tidy, but usually it just looks like a mess, especially if I know it will be hidden.
Embroidered Turtle Ornament
I cut out pieces for the head, legs, and tail from more of the green felt.
Embroidered Turtle Ornament
The kittens were helping me decide which way the turtle’s front legs should go.
Embroidered Turtle Ornament
I don’t love using glue guns for this kind of thing, but it was the easiest way to keep the layers together so that I could sew without them slipping.
Embroidered Turtle Ornament
Nearly finished!
Embroidered Turtle Ornament
The final project!