A Good Home, Jessica Charnock's Hooked Rugs, Myrtle The Purple Turtle, Rug-Hooking Show

Myrtle Goes to Ottawa

That Myrtle!

Our favourite purple turtle is set for another excellent adventure.

Blog Photo - Myrtle1

Myrtle the Purple Turtle will be on display this Spring at the Annual Conference of the OHCG (Ontario Hooking Craft Guild) in our nation’s capital.

That’s both Myrtle-the-book and Myrtle-the-star of a wonderful hooked rug. 

Myrtle Book Cover

Blog Photo - Myrtle Rug 2

The creator of the rug is Jessica Charnock. If her name sounds familiar, that’s because she and Jean Long are the couple who are translating Myrtle into French. (Coming this spring.)

“There will be a show of rugs from all over the province and our group, as usual, will be represented,” says Jessica.  “And that’s where Myrtle will be, together with the book.  Our Area Representative loved the idea.”

Blog Photo - Jessica making rug

Jessica started hooking rugs in 1996. Myrtle is # 69 in a journey of beautiful creations. 

“I fell in love with an old Grenfell rug that belonged to a friend and which she later gave to me.  I knew then that I had to learn this craft.  I found out about a group of hookers in Cobourg and they were happy to introduce me to the craft which I picked up right away and learned very quickly. 

Lac Baker

“Of course, the fact that my home is a century + old log house, I chose to hook my rugs in a more primitive style. 

“At first, of course, I was hooking them for ourselves, then when I realized that friends and family liked them, I made some for family and friends. Some were also given as wedding presents and some were made on commission.” 

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The piece below captures part of family history:

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“My husband’s ancestor Philip Long — a Scottish soldier, a King’s mail courrier — built this establishment at the mouth of Madawaska river on Temiscouata-sur-le-Lac in Cabano, Quebec. This was an inn where travellers would stop overnight on their long trip from Quebec  to Fredericton, New Brunswick.”

Every rug has a story.

“I hooked this rug (below) from a photograph which was taken when we first purchased our canoe in 1969 from Chief Dan Sarrazin of the Golden Lake Reserve, the builder of canoes.  It is an authentic Algonquin birch bark canoe which is still in our possession. 

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“About three years ago, we became curious and decided to go back to Golden Lake Reserve with the photograph and see if we could locate the little boy, the Chief’s son, who was about 10 at the time.  We did meet with a few people and it finally was the librarian who identified the boy.  We were lucky to meet with him and as soon as we showed him the photograph he recognized himself and we had a lovely visit with him.  He was then 45 years old.” 

As you can imagine, Myrtle’s illustrator Jo Robinson and I are doubly-honoured with both Jessica’s rendition of Myrtle and its inclusion in the OHCG’s annual conference.

 

Blog Photo - Myrtle Rug 2

Jo’s reaction:

“Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! That is the most brilliant thing! A bit over-excited here, but that really is the most amazing feeling that someone did that.”

Ditto!

Myrtle and other gorgeous hooked rugs from across Ontario will be displayed at the Ottawa Conference & Event Centre, May 4 to 6.    

Huge thanks to my dear friend Jessica and the OHCG.

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Photos by Jessica Charnock

(Loghouse photo by Hamlin Grange)

 

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A Good Home, Arts, Libraries, Myrtle The Purple Turtle, Spirit of the Hills - Arts Group

A Busy Week and Purple Fingernails

Accepting a blogger friend’s challenge, I painted my nails purple to attend the Festival of the Arts in Cobourg, Ontario last weekend.

Blog Photo - Myrtle Purple Nails

Of course, my friend won the challenge hands-down (hands-up?) because in this picture below, she’s also wearing a purple shirt! 

Blog Photo - Myrtle and Mandy and Purple Nails

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I’m a volunteer with the Festival and it was a great success! Painters, photographers, authors, actors, musicians and others shared their talents with enthusiastic audiences.

Blog Photo - Festival Marie-Lynn playing guitar

Blog Photo - Pat Calder Stall at Festival

Blog Photo - Festival Mandy Bing paintings

Blog Photo - Festival Book Fair

Blog Photo - Festival Sharon Ramsay Curtis

Blog Photo - Festival Kim aubrey reading

Blog Photo - SOTH Festival Performers

Blog Photo - SOTH Festival gifts for Chairs
Above 6 photos by Hamlin Grange

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In the photo just above, publisher Jennifer Bogart(right) and I are presenting gifts to Felicity Sidnell Reid (left) and Susan Statham (2nd from right), the hard-working co-chairs of the Festival’s organizing committee.  

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It’s also been a great ‘Myrtle week’.  I dropped into A Different Booklist  – one of Toronto’s best-known book stores. Owners Itah and Miguel introduced me to customers Shay Lin (holding a copy of Myrtle), an international student from China, and Qing, her mother.

Blog Photo - Myrtle and Friends at A Different Booklist

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Earlier, CBC Radio interviewed daughter Lauren and me about Myrtle. Metro Morning host Matt Galloway and his team were terrific. They pre-interviewed us, and, when we arrived, made us welcome. Then they talked us through the journey the interview would take.

Blog Photo - Myrtle Interview by Matt Galloway

They were so kind, I suspected that someone in the team must have read An Honest House, which describes my struggles with PTSD, cognitive difficulties and pain following a car accident. So I asked producer Morgan Passi.

Imagine my delight to discover that this is just the way they operate!

Blog Photo - Myrtle interview by Wei Chen

Next, Lauren and I were skilfully interviewed by the wonderful host of Ontario Morning, Wei Chen. She greeted us warmly, made us feel entirely at home and the interview began. 

Bravo, CBC Radio!

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A few days ago, Seattle’s Allen J. Mears posted on Facebook a photo of his daughters, Megan, 8, and Hailey, 6, with Myrtle. I loved it! Thanks to the Mears family for allowing me to share it here.

Blog Photo - Myrtle with Megan and Hailey

I love  photos of children reading Myrtle, courtesy of kind parents and grandparents.

Blog Photo - Myrtle being read to 2 daughters

In these photos, Ashly Dixon in Wisconsin is reading Myrtle to her daughters Denali, 9, Anika, 6, and son Vincent, 2, while their father Damien takes the photos. 

Blog Photo - Myrtle being read to children by Ashly

Ashly says they all love the book, including the brilliant illustrations and Myrtle’s “message of acceptance and knowing one’s self-worth” .

Thanks, Dixon family. 

And don’t you just love the pyjamas?

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Carl Randall, a veteran marathon runner, did something unusual to spread the word about Myrtle.

Blog Photo - Myrtle and Carl at Brunswick County PL

He and his wife Jackie have brought Myrtle to libraries in various cities — including New York, where he recently ran the marathon.

Blog Photo - Myrtle held by Carl at NYPL 2

Thanks, Carl and Jackie! 

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Finally, Kev Cooper – blogger, book reviewer, author and musician — has made Myrtle “Book of the Month” on his website, Books & Music.  Wow, Kev! Thank you!

A Good Home, Artists, Arts, Authors, Book lovers, Book Stores, Books, Booksellers, Stratford, Ontario

Must Love Books

Let’s face it: you have to really love books to own a bookstore these days.

Blog Photo Fanfare Sign1 by Hamlin Grange

That’s what I say to Bob Newland, owner of Fanfare Books in Stratford, Ontario. 

Blog Photo Fanfare and downtown by Dale Ratcliffe.JPG
Credit: Dale Ratcliffe

Q. Owning a bookstore doesn’t seem like a way to get rich quick. Why do you do it?

A: You are right: money is not the motivator. But the store provides many other satisfactions:
1)The people- I get to hobnob with the most intelligent, erudite and well-read people on the planet.
2)The books- Everyday is Christmas!
3) Sundry satisfactions- While it doesn’t happen as often in reality as it does in The Little Paris Bookshop,  every now and then someone will say that a book that I sold them years ago made a profound change in them. Often a book is a personal thing and it’s nice to think that I have made a difference, however small, in their lives.

Blog Photo Fanfare and Bob by Hamlin Grange
Credit: Hamlin Grange

Blog Photo Fanfare Story Downtown Traffic and Street by Dale

Thousands of people visit Stratford each year. It’s a beautiful city, with nature (including the Avon River) adding its charms.

Blog Photo Stratford River by Dale Ratcliffe

Blog Photo Stratford Swan by Dale Ratcliffe

It’s also home to famous artists, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and the Stratford Summer Music Festival, and it’s singer Justin Bieber’s hometown.

Blog Photo Stratford and shakespeare by Dale Ratcliffe
4 above photos by Dale Ratcliffe

Q: Who are some of the individual shoppers who have delighted you by coming to your bookstore? 

 A: The most fun story that I have is this:
First Saturday in December is our sale day. We’ve been doing this for thirty years and it is usually the busiest day of the year. A couple of years ago, Colm Feore came in- as he sometimes does- and held half of the substantial crowd in thrall for about half an hour as he described how he grilled a steak. Now THAT`S entertainment!

(Colm Feore is one of the busiest actors in Hollywood, but his home is in Stratford and he’s a beloved star of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.)

Blog Photo Fanfare and Shoppers by Hamlin Grange

Bob’s mother, a teacher, fostered a love of books. He studied English literature and Bob managed bigger bookstores before buying Fanfare in 1989. 

Fanfare carries books by big-name authors such as Louise Penny, Alice Munro, W.O. Mitchell, Robertson Davies, John Irving, Timothy Findley, Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott, Alan Bradley and others.

But it also carries books by less well-known authors like me. (Thank you, Bob, and store manager John Woodward.)

Book image An Honest House 1

Blog Photo Fanfare window and Street by Hamlin Grange
Above photos by Hamlin Grange

Q: Why should readers and society in general value bookstores today? 

A: Books are the instruments that produce and preserve culture and civilization.
Okay, it sounds like hyperbole but it’s actually true.

The bookstore is a place of discovery.

It’s where you discover passions that you didn’t know you had.

It’s the place where serendipity happens. Also, taking text out of the equation, a well-made book is an object of beauty in and of itself. I love the look and feel of a book where the designer had the talent, patience, awareness and materials to make something special.

Blog Photo Fanfare address

 

 

A Good Home, Encouraging Others

En- Courage

Photos by Hamlin Grange

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Courage is contagious,  you know.

One person’s courage infects another.

I see this every day in our blogging community.  We en-courage each other — with our dreams, creations, projects, relationships, life.  

Even telling someone: “I know you can do this”, can make the difference between that person’s stepping forward or drawing back.

Cynthia and Don Corbett - cropped

And there are other groups that we each belong to. Like my writers group, Spirit of the Hills. My email group, The Loopers.  My church group at St. Thomas’ Anglican. 

We en-courage each other.

We do so when we ourselves act with courage, though scared inside. We do it when we convince someone that — yes —  you can do the thing that frightens you.

Friend Eva Lloyd persuaded me to come to her home — to read and talk about A Good Home shortly after its publication in 2013. I was stuttering, reclusive and generally afraid of my own shadow, but Eva promised me: “You’ll be fine, Cynthia. And what’s more, we’ll all be here for you.”

Book Photo -Cynthia reading

Eva and friends en-couraged me, and I took the risk.

Book - Friends listen at Evas

My husband and I supported artist Don Corbett as he prepared for his art show in 2014, not knowing that Don planned some encouraging of his own. He invited me to do a reading at his show, then gave me a painting (see top photo).

Don en-couraged me.

Cynthia Reading Cropped

 

At various times in our lives, everyone needs to be encouraged  by others.

Thanks for your encouragement.

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“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” Billy Graham

This post is dedicated to everyone who helps others to be courageous.

Book Cover Promo - Coming Soon