Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Colour Blocking 101

Colour blocking is a fashion trend that comes and goes. It was made famous in the 1964 jersey day dress by designer Yves St. Laurent.

Colour blocking recently reappeared on the runways in 2011 and is becoming more and more mainstream. Colour blocking in fashion is defined as using bold adjacent or complementary colours in a single look. It can achieved by combining separates and accessories or stitching together various colours into one garment.

Variations on colour blocking involve using tints or shades of the same colour, pastels, black, white and greys or even prints.

Colour blocking is risky because it is attention-getting and can easily be done wrong. Even the experts are struggling to pull off this look. Unless you have a really good eye for combining colours, a refresher on colour theory is probably warranted.

Tiger Colour has an excellent basic introduction to colour theory. Visit this website to read up on it.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

7 Holiday Dos And Don'ts For Every Entrepreneur

Holiday Dos & Don'ts by Gene Marks

Maybe it's a little late for 2012 but this article, published in, has some great advice for the small business owner. Even big business could take away a few lessons. My favourite:

"4. Forget about an overboard office party." I've been at enough of these to know. When I was young, it was fun, but as I got older and wiser, they became a duty and a chore. Someone always drinks too much, says or does something inappropriate. Careers are ruined. Hearts get broken. Too many awkward moments. Best to do the holiday celebrating in a safe environment with your family and friends.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Paradox of Leadership

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.
Harvey S. Firestone

I don't know much about Mr. Firestone. Certainly his company is a household name. But this quote is a good one.

In most organizations, as many of us have experienced, leadership is all about the leader. The leader becomes preoccupied with ensuring that there is no one who can easily replace him. They need to look good to their board, their peers and their old boy network. I say him because it usually is. Leaders also ensure that they get the credit for all the good things that happen. Their inappropriate bonuses and salaries depend on it. They blame and punish everyone else for their own mistakes, even if they've ignored the good advice of others.

They also refuse to look at anything that might be going wrong; a lost major client, employee exodus, accounting irregularities, unless a regulator intervenes or a law suit is imminent. They want to hear that everything is rosy, and that their subordinates will just take care of the problems because of the "if I don't know about it, I can't be responsible for it attitude". Thankfully regulation and legislation now prevent them from this escape route.

People in leadership positions everywhere, whether you are a small business owner, in the clergy, a teacher, a politician or an executive, you are only a true leader when you are helping the people you are responsible for develop and grow. All of them--not just the ones that kiss your butt. That is your only job. Focus on it and the other things you worry about will take care of themselves... unless, of course, your boss is not a true leader.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Some Things Never Change
Clearly the world has moved on since I left Bay Street. But clearly some things never change. Here is an excerpt from an article by Brad Smith. Read it and weep. It's the 1990s all over again.
* * *  
They say you learn something new everyday...
And one of the things I recently learned was a new oxymoron: a social media budget.
Because in most companies, it simply doesn't exist. They expect Fans, Followers, Likes and Pins to fall from the sky.
But that's not the worst part...
No, the worst part is when you see how companies actually spend a social media budget if they have it.
Because most of the time it's wasted on vanity metrics and hot trends.
And the problem typically resides with the HIPPOs (highest paid person's opinion), because the highest paid person is also (usually) the least knowledgeable and furthest away from the front-lines.
The social media budget cartoon

* * *

Getting funding for websites and intranets was nearly impossible in the 1990s and even 2000s. It always came too late and too little, if at all. To make matters worse, the HIPPOs though they should control the content and design.

No wonder we are in the economic mess we are in.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fate? Destiny? Love at First Sight?

I think it was meant to be. I am now the proud owner of a vintage White Model 2335 sewing machine, complete with cabinet. This is my story.

Several months ago a member of the Oakville Sewers Forum came to inherit the White 2335 in a sewing machine cabinet. Having no use for it, but wanting to find an owner who would have need of a sewing machine, she inquired within our group. We were unable to come up with an owner.

Last month I taught a sewing course for absolute beginners. Some of my students did not have sewing machines. I encouraged them to ask around of relatives or friends who may have one sitting in a closet somewhere. I was delighted that this yielded two machines. But there was one student who's machine was broken and not worth the cost of fixing. While we had loner machines at the facility, this meant the student did not have a machine to practice or use at home after the course. My idea was to offer the student the White 2335. But first I want to check it out to ensure it would be suitable.

I arranged to pick up the machine in my van. It was heavy and with a lot of difficulty I maneuvered it into the back and laid it on its side, hoping that would not be damaged in any way. When I arrived home, I was so eager to try it out that I didn't wait for my husband to come home to help me. Struggling, I managed to get it into the house.

I opened up the cabinet, and pulled the machine up to the operating position. It is the heaviest machine I have ever laid hands on. But it is a beautiful turquoise green with little signs of aging. It is the colour of the refrigerator we had at home in the 1950s. The accessory box is in mint condition with all the original attachments. I was also pleased that the previous owner kept the manual as these often go missing. I felt a pang of nostalgia.

I replaced the light bulb and was disappointed that it didn't work. I tested the bulb, replaced it again, but it still didn't work. I brought out my portable Ottlite and decided the light bulb wasn't that important.

I knew the machine would need oiling and removed its top. I was delighted to see that there were no plastic cams (these often wear, crack and break in the older machines). Every part was metal and it was very clean inside. Still I oiled all the parts that needed oil and replaced the top. I did the same with the head plate, bobbin casing and then the undercarriage. Everything looked very clean and moved smoothly. I admired the workmanship and robustness of the inner workings.

Now it was time to see how she sewed. I set up the machine to wind a bobbin and was disappointed to see that the bobbin winder rubber ring was split open. With a some fiddling and patience I was able to get a bobbin wound and set within the machine. Following the instructions, I threaded the machine and tested it out. The tension was off. I adjusted the upper tension. It was still off. I adjusted the bobbin tension. Now it sewed a perfect seam.

Still it was noisy. I stitched a fair bit and as the oil worked its way through all the joints, she started to quieten down. I tried to stitch faster. She flies like the wind. And the stitches are perfect and accurate. I tested the zigzag stitch. She sews them perfectly. I change the width and length and still, she delivers lovely precise stitches.

As I sit at the machine and put her through her paces, I marvel at how well she is designed. The cabinet is the right height for sewing--unlike the sewing machines of today that are placed on desktops that are too high. She is set into the cabinet so that there is a very large flat area around her to make for smooth sewing. I think of the hundred of dollars I spent on custom sewing cabinets, templates and flat beds for my machines and here she is with her flat bed built right in. Instead of a foot peddle that wanders all over the floor, she has a knee control bolted to the side of the cabinet so that stays in place. She comes with a straight stitch plate for accurate straight stitching on the finest of fabrics. The height of the feed dogs is adjustable. She can sew with two spools of thread and a twin needle. I'm lovin' this.

I read through all of the manual to learn all she's capable of. While she is strictly mechanical and does only straight stitch and zigzag stitch, she does them extremely well. I could be very happy sewing on this machine. Hmmmm. I run out to Fabricland and pick up a new bobbin winder rubber ring and a bottle of oil. She's ready to go to her new home.

I contact the student's mother and we arrange to have the machine delivered. In anticipation of her leaving, I look online to see if there's another White 2335 out there in need of a home. I start thinking that although I have five machines (at last count, three of them vintage) I could still use one just like this. I check out eBay listings but they are too far away and too expensive to ship. I find a similar model in Burlington (next town over) through Kijiji  and not too expensive. I decide that I will go have a look at it once this one is gone.

Then I received a voice mail from the student's mother. She says they have decided that they don't want the machine after all. They prefer to have a portable that can be taken to classes. I am disappointed for the student, but I understand. That is why machines like this one are not wanted any more. But secretly I am relieved.

I tell my husband what happened and he asks if I need help taking it to the local thrift store. I say, "Not yet dear."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Something original to say, I hope

I cringe every time I receive a newsletter that begins with something like:

I can't believe the year is half over.

I can't believe it's July (or month of your choice) already.

Time has gone so quickly.

It's almost Christmas (Thanksgiving, Labour Day or other holiday of your choice).

Please, newsletter writers, begin your topic with something besides how quickly the time goes by.

And proofreaders everywhere, don't let your copywriters print this stuff. And if you have some president, CEO or other self-important boss who insists that this is the message he or she wants to convey despite your sage advice, remember, there's a special place in communication hell for them.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Unlocking the Potential

I'm always on the lookout for fabrics have a lot of possibilities. When I spotted the Greg Printed Rag Doubleknit on a recent trip to Las Vegas, I knew I had to have it. The more I examined it, the more images of future garments came into my head.

As a doubleknit it is stable, but with some give. It also has a lovely drape. I chose to sew it using the fast and easy eShrug from The Sewing Workshop Collection.

With the eShrug there are only the two shoulder seams and the sleeves/armholes to sew. I used my serger set up with two needles (four serger spools in all) creating seams with a bit of give. The same serger setup was used to finish the outside edges. The result is a beautiful, flat, professional edge. This basic pattern with simple construction showcases the fabric perfectly.

eShrug - Long Version
There are areas of the fabric where the threads appear shredded thus the "rag" or worn look. However, it is backed with knit and not overdone so it looks cool rather than grungy. If you happen to cut a seam that goes through the shredded area, the threads will fall loosely. I recommend sticking them down with a washable glue stick or a strip of Steam-a-Seam, so they are caught in the seam as it is sewn.

On close examination I noticed that the fabric is printed with silver. The content is 30% polyester and 70% cotton. This led me to wonder what would happen if I were to dye the fabric, knowing that only the unprinted cotton would pick up the colour. I quickly dyed some of the cutting room scraps using Scarlet Rit. The results were very promising.

Dyed with Scarlet Rit

I had cut myself some yardage for another garment and prewashed it, anticipating I would dye it after the Creativ Festival. On a recent trip to downtown Toronto, I stopped at G&S Dye to purchase some Procion dye in Turquoise. G&S Dye does mail order so if you don't live nearby, you can still order everything you need to dye fabric from them. Here is the result.

Dyed with Procion Turquoise
I haven't decided what I will sew with the Turquoise fabric as yet but it will likely be a swing jacket.

I completely sold out of this doubleknit at the Spring Creativ Festival. But the good news is that more is on its way. In fact I just ordered all that my supplier has left in stock, so once it is gone, it is gone. The shipment is expected to arrive mid-June. In the meantime you can pre-order from the Distinctive Sewing Supplies website.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


May 5 - Daily Reflections for Highly Effective People (Stephen R. Covey): Without involvement there is no commitment. Mark it down. Asterisk it. Circle it. No involvement, no commitment.

See also Floating All Boats.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Those days are gone. Get over it.

Yesterday, the organizers of the Creativ Festival did a very brave thing. They asked their customers to provide feedback about the recent show on facebook. I read them with disappointment. I was wondering if I was in fact at the same show.

The Creativ Festival is a top-notch consumer show. The vendors and activities are a reflection of current market trends in the world of arts and crafts. If it's not the same as 10 years ago, there's a good reason. The world has changed. Look around you. The glory days are gone. Probably for good. Be grateful for all those vendors and experts who made the effort to be there to teach, exhibit and sell their wares. It's not easy and it's a big risk. For a $15 admission fee you received outstanding value if you were open to learning something new or just taking in the sights.

Freebies. Free patterns. Free handouts. Several people said that vendors should be giving out more freebies. Back in the day, vendors used to be given free products by the manufacturers to distribute and encourage more sales. That doesn't happen any more. Handouts. Hmmmm. Printing costs have gone through the roof. Printing even small quantities costs $100 of dollars. And they often end up in the recycling bin. So no. Freebies and handouts aren't the answer because the truth is, they don't generate more sales--or even enough sales to cover the vendor's costs. They generate waste and satisfy people who want handouts, not people who are looking for value.

A $14 needlework pattern? Is that too much to ask if it gives you hours of enjoyment? Is that too much to ask if the artist spent weeks designing, perfecting and testing it? Is that too much if the exhibitor has to sell a 100 of them to cover the cost of their booth for that day? I don't think so.

For more insight, see my previous blog on Consumer Show Etiquette.

No Pins! No Basting! No Kidding!

A recent post I made called Insider Secrets from the Garment Industry, I think, is worth a second look.

The point I was making is reinforced in a comment made by a woman who works in the garment industry and has an excellent blog called "Fashion Incubator". This is an excerpt from her response to an individual's comment about the use of pins.

I think I understand what you’re saying Diane but maybe some re-framing is in order. I don’t dislike narrow diameter metal pointy things just because. Home sewers who like pins aren’t stupid or crazy; they use them for good reasons: 
1. Uneven feeding (machine problem) 
2. Joining unmatched seam lengths (pattern problem). 
Pins are a work aid. If pins are being used, this is (usually) a sign of a work around; there is a problem that preceded the stitcher and it’s not their fault. The solution is not to take their pin supply from them; it’s to eliminate their need of them.

Elegant Designs for Easy Living

Yesterday was what I call I near perfect day for a sewing enthusiast. Visiting Toronto and taking in the sights, sounds, tastes and smells is a treat for the senses. One important stop on the itinerary was the Textile Museum of Canada.

Tucked away in a corner behind City Hall, the museum is the place I often escaped to on precious lunch hours when I worked on Bay St. While others ate their power lunches hoping to make a big connection, panted away on treadmills in the local gym, or toiled in stark grey cubicles wolfing down fast food while staring into flickering screens, I would slip off to this little oasis of tranquility and creativity.

The Textile Museum shop on the second floor has so many books on all sorts of textile art. They also have used books for sale, donated to the museum to help raise funds. This book by Maggie Lane was a treasure that I purchased yesterday. It was published in 1978, over thirty years ago. I've not heard of Maggie Lane or this book previously, and patchwork is not something I'm particularly interested in. What attracted me was that the book included patterns for oriental clothing; Indian pant, Magyar coat, Dofuko, tabard, kangaroo shirt and several more. Typical for books of that time, it contains colour plates of the garments. This $18 find will give me hours of enjoyment as I pore over the construction details and marvel over the simplicity of the designs that are functional and yet have an aesthetic that I am attracted to.

The Textile Museum of Canada is having its Yardage Sale May 25 and 26, 2012. And if you go, you are sure to find a treasurer or two that someone has previously enjoyed and donated to the museum for resale.

Visit for details.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Floating All Boats

I belong to the Craft and Hobby Association. I am a board member of the Canadian Craft and Hobby Association which has reinvented itself as a chapter of the Craft and Hobby Association. In addition, I am a member of the Canadian Section which is a group that advises on industry activities in crafting in Canada. This is a group of talented, committed and enthusiastic individuals from across our nation.

This results in a lot of unpaid work on my part, advising on events, branding, presentations, activities and so forth. And it's not like I have a lot of spare time. Why do I do it? Because any company or organization has a moral obligation, in my view, to promote the health of its industry. Plus the returns are twofold when we get together and collaborate.

I realize it is very time consuming and sometimes we don't like to share information with our competitors. The fact is that a healthy industry helps everyone. When we all work together for the benefit of the industry, then we "float all boats".

That is great for you as crafters and seamsters, because it gives you more selection, product, education, facilities. It is very Canadian, unfortunately, to sit back and watch, or ride on the coattails of others. But it's not very helpful. So next time you walk into a craft store, ask the owner how they support the industry beyond their four walls. Before you purchase from an online supplier, ask them how they are helping promote crafting for future generations. And while you are picking up your discount supplies at the local dollar store, ask yourself if you would be happy if they became your only place for crafting materials.

Everyone likes a bargain, but if the dollar stores and discount chains become your sole source for crafting, it will be a sad time indeed.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Insider Secrets from the Garment Industry

In ready-to-wear manufacturing, no one uses pins or basting. And with good reason. It would take too long, and sewing with pins reduces accuracy.

Not exactly what they told you in home ec or even in all those books on sewing. Pins have their uses, but when it comes to sewing seams, most of the time you don't need them, and you don't want them.

That dreaded homemade look is why a lot of people give up sewing, especially garments. Or they go into quilting or home decor.

Sewing without pins or basting will speed up your sewing and the results are professional-looking. It takes a little practice but is easily mastered once you know how.

You have lots of opportunity to find out more about Islander Sewing Systems.

Or take a course with Janet in Oakville, ON May 29, 30 & 31, 2012.

You really will be amazed at the dramatic improvement in your sewing skills once you learn these skills.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Making a Basic Earring - a free beading lesson from Canadian Beading Mag...

Allie of Beady I (best bead store in Oakville, ON) and editor of Canadian Beading, taught me how to make a wrapped loop. This is the technique I used for the pearls attached to my Silk 'n Pearls fabric necklace. Here she shows you how to make an earring, but the loop and wrapping technique are very clearly explained. Canadian Beading has more tutorials on YouTube. They are well worth the watch.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sewing and Scrapbooking

My sewing group, Oakville Sewers Forum, is moving into its new home in the Fibre Arts Studio at Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre this month. The grand opening for the centre (QEPCCC) is March 24. To commemorate the opening each of the member groups of QEPCCC were given a shadow box to fill that will be on display to the public in the facility.

One of our members found a wonderful scrapbooking sheet of vintage pattern paper with red glitter for the background. Members of our sewing group were asked to create items to place in the shadow box that are representative of what we do.

For my contribution, I used the MyStyle Greetings pattern for a card making. The dress is cut from a vintage print fabric cotton. The red glitter tulle under skirt goes with the red glitter of the background. And I embellished the dress with some ribbon and a bow. To make the the MyStyle dress form card more vintage, I rubbed it with an umber ink pad.

I used my photopaint program to draw a window over a copyright-free landscape scene. I aged the picture and printed in colour. This was trimmed and glued to a piece of card. I then rubbed with the same umber ink pad to age it further. The window curtain was created with a rectangle of vintage cotton with ecru lace sewed to the edge. My curtain rod is a red coffee stir stick.

Lastly the tiny wooden spools came from a scrapbook store. I applied some glue to the spools and wrapped them with coloured threads and glued down the ends (or at least tried to).

This is a fun mixed media project. I can't wait to see what the other members have to contribute.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Designer Shirt in a Day with Janet Pray

Janet Pray, celebrity sewing enthusiast and owner of Islander Sewing Systems, will be teaching this not-to-be-missed, one-day course in Oakville, ON on May 31, 2012.

Nothing looks, fits or feels better than a custom-made shirt. Learn the inside secrets found in those $200 ready-to-wear designer shirts as you sew along creating a Tommy Bahama style shirt with perfect topstitching. Discover the secrets to matching fronts and pockets seamlessly. Set perfect convertible shirt collars, pockets, sleeves & designer details, all without a single pin or basting!

Click here for details and to register online. Newsletter subscribers receive an early bird discount. Class size is limited.

The Perfect Pant with Janet Pray Returns

Janet Pray will be returning to Oakville, ON May 29 & 30, 2012 to teach this two-day course.

Altering a ready-made pant pattern is nearly impossible and more time consuming than drafting your own personalized pattern. Join Janet Pray, owner of Islander Sewing Systems, as she takes you step-by-step through the process of drafting your own pant pattern using the easy Islander method.

In this comprehensive two day course you will not only draft the pattern, you will also make the muslin to ensure you leave with the “perfect pant pattern” made just for you. It’s easy and works every time. Janet will show you how to make any style pant or skirt and you’ll never again worry if it will fit.

Click here for full details and to register. Newsletter subscribers receive an early bird discount. Class size is limited to 12 participants working in pairs.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Silk 'n Pearls - Fabulous Fabric Necklace

Necklace Tied at Back

Recently I visited a high end gift shop in Kingston, ON and noticed a lovely fabric necklace with faux pearls attached. It inspired me to make my own creation using the serged edge technique. (BTW this is not an exact copy as the fabric, materials and techniques are all different.)

I used a solid black cotton/silk voile that is 56" wide. The right side has a subtle sheen and the wrong side is matte. Like the previous fabric scarves described in this blog, I cut 1-1/2" strips on the crossgrain. This allows you to make a lot of strips with about a 1/4 yard of fabric.

Serge one edge, right side up, using a rolled hem. I used regular black serger thread in the needle and lower looper and solid black rayon embroidery thread (40wt) in the upper looper. The rayon thread has a nice sheen. As you come to the end of one strip, overlap another strip about 1" and continue on. This is how you join the strips together end-to-end. Continue doing this until you have joined six strips.

Necklace Tied at Side

Then turn the strip around and ensuring you have the right side up, serge the other side, one presser foot width away. Pay special attention to where the strips join, so that they lie nice and flat as you serge them together.

Now take your very long strip and cut it into three 85" lengths. You can adjust the length as suits you if you wish.

Starting at the middle point of each fabric strip, sew faux pearls evenly on both sides of the middle. I used three different sizes of glass faux pearls and spaced them out according to their size.

My pearls had holes through the middle and would not look very good if I sewed them directly to the fabric. So I put them on gold plated head pins and made a loop. This is where a knowledge of beading comes in handy. If you don't know how to do this you can also make them into a dangle by sewing a thread through the pearl, add a seed bead and sew back up through the pearl and then back to the fabric strip.

Bow Close-up

The glass faux pearls are heavy and weigh the strips down. I think that plastic faux pearls would work nicely and not put as much strain on the strips.

Lastly, I arranged the strips on a mannequin and tied a bow at the back. The bow looks great because the serged edges give the strips some body and the ends curl nicely.

Cutting and serging the edges went very quickly. Preparing the pearls and sewing them on took several television episodes including The Mentalist, Criminal Minds, It's Sew Easy, Project Runway All Stars and Sewing with Nancy.

The possibilities are many: Rip strips of fabric and knot them together for a bohemian look; Sew on all different kinds of beads, buttons, coins, etc.; Try different types of fabrics or use ribbon; Even incorporate the necklace into your garment by tacking it down or weaving it through buttonholes.

I hope this has given you some food for thought and inspired you to give it a try.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Twenty Annoying Workplace Habits - Corporate Rant Alert!

For the past few decades, management consultants, good and bad, have influenced organizations to varying degrees. Mostly the organizations did not have the staying power to implement the good stuff. And it was expensive and difficult to justify, so they just muddled through. The organizations that did well, didn't need them because they already had strong leadership (think Microsoft, Apple, Dell) or were highly regulated.

Here is a list of 20 annoying habits of the workplace by Marshall Goldsmith, another management consultant. All of them ring true and I have experienced these not only annoying but destructive habits first hand. And although many executives use these tactics from time to time to put their subordinates and rivals in their place, I have seen executives who employed all of them consistently and on a regular basis. Hard to believe anyone could be that annoying...

One thing that they taught us in management school was that most people could handle only three or maybe five thoughts at a time. So the list is long for anyone who is Type A, has a short attention span, is self-absorbed or a sociopath; in other words, an executive of the worst kind. Unfortunately, they are the ones who need to read this and learn from it. But they won't or they can't because that would be admitting they were wrong (see #15).

The good news is these badly behaved managers are a dying breed. Capitalism in its current form doesn't work (it's been publicly declared!) because it bred these leadership types and rewarded them at the expense of the global economy aka everybody else. So to those whose egos are far bigger than their intelligence, skill or talent; get over yourself--you're just not that important.

The 20 Annoying Workplace Habits You Need To Break Now

by: Marshall Goldsmith

  1. Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations – when it matters, when it doesn’t, and when it’s totally beside the point.
  2. Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.
  3. Passing judgement: The need to rate others and impose our standards on them.
  4. Making destructive comments: The needless sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.
  5. Starting with “no,” “but” or “however”: The overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone “I’m right. You’re wrong.”
  6. Telling the world how smart we are: The need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.
  7. Speaking when angry: Using emotional volatility as a management tool.
  8. Negativity, or “Let me explain why that won’t work”: The need to share our negative thoughts even when we weren’t asked.
  9. Withholding information: The refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others.
  10. Failing to give proper recognition: The inability to praise and reward.
  11. Claiming credit that we don’t deserve: The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.
  12. Making excuses: The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.
  13. Clinging to the past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.
  14. Playing favorites: Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.
  15. Refusing to express regret: The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others.
  16. Not listening: The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues.
  17. Failing to express gratitude: The most basic form of bad manners.
  18. Punishing the messenger: The misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually only trying to help us.
  19. Passing the buck: The need to blame everyone but ourselves.
  20. An excessive need to be “me”: Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Road Trip to Mississippi Valley Textile Museum

Not Mississippi in the U.S. but in the Town of Almonte, Ontario, Canada. I never knew such a place existed. I was visiting a sewing friend near Kingston and we decided to go on a road trip. After we attended a meeting of fellow seamsters at the Westport Sewers Forum, we continued on our journey. The Town of Almonte was once a hub of activity when the wool industry was large.

After a delightful lunch in the Wool Mill Restaurant, we visited the textile museum. Our intent was to see the Woven Bridges exhibit at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, which unfortunately ends tomorrow. Textile artists from Canada, U.S. and U.K. are exhibiting fascinating tapestries woven from traditional yarns, plastic waste, rope and paper. Some are light and airy, others dark and mysterious, some brilliant with colour and imagery. After viewing the exhibit, I had a few moments to pop upstairs to see the equipment used to shear, card, spin and weave the wool. Amazing!

Then we popped into a local clothing shop called The White Lilly. The fashions are primarily from Bali but I found a wonderful spring jacket from Paris at 60% discount. Now that was a bonus to an already great day.

Ixchel Suarez was one of the tapestry artists whose work was on display and available for purchase. Visit her website at to view her profile.