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.” 

Blog Photo - Jessica Charnock Hooked Rug -Portage

The piece below captures part of family history:

Blog Photo - Jessica Phillip Long Homestead

“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. 

Blog Photo - Jessica Man and Boy in Canoe

“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.

~~

Photos by Jessica Charnock

(Loghouse photo by Hamlin Grange)

 

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A Good Home, Bowmanville, Local credit union DUCA, Small towns

Storytime in Small-Town Ontario

If anyone wants to know why Bowmanville, a historic town east of Toronto, is becoming so popular with young families, retirees and those in-between — many moving from big centres — the pictures below are one reason:

Blog Photo - Father and Children at DUCA Storytime

Would you believe we’re in a bank?

Yes, and it’s Storytime!

Author Viki McDonald (“Coach Tate and Team Triple 8”) and I were invited to read our stories at Bowmanville’s DUCA credit union.

Blog Photo - Cynthia and Vikki reading at DUCA

Blog Photo - Children and Storytime at DUCA1

Children and their parents sat comfortably on the blankets and comforters that the DUCA staff had spread on the floor.

Blog Photo - Girl listens at DUCA storytime

Blog Photo - Parents listens at DUCA storytime

Vikki and I sat in chairs made even more comfy with quilts that were made by the mother of DUCA manager Karen.

Are you feeling the small-town spirit yet?

Blog Photo - Cynthia reads book at DUCA storytime

We’d stop at times and ask the children questions about the storylines and they’d shout back answers, sometimes making everybody laugh.

Cupcakes and cookies were served.

The idea for a storytime came from staffer Meeghan, and was quickly accepted by Karen and the other staff. They approached me shortly after Myrtle the Purple Turtle was published. I was surprised, but also delighted.

Blog Photo - Cynthia and Timea at DUCA
Young Bowmanville resident Timea Williams with Cynthia Reyes

And now I’m going to embarrass myself a little.  When I first moved to this region a few years ago, I dropped into the DUCA branch. Taken aback by their kindness, I blurted out: “Are people here always THIS friendly?”

As you may know, I struggle with issues from a car accident, and one of them is that my brain doesn’t always co-operate with tasks that were once ridiculously easy. I also sometimes stutter and can’t get the words out clearly.  But the DUCA staff took it all in stride, and when my book “An Honest House” (which describes my efforts to learn to live with those issues) was published, I went in to share the news.

Their reaction was such that you would have thought I was family.

Blog Photo - Cynthia reads to children at DUCA

So as I think about it, perhaps Storytime in a bank — authors reading their stories and young families seated happily on the floor, listening — makes perfect sense.

And we all loved it. 

Thank you, DUCA staff! You’re wonderful.

Photos by Hamlin Grange.

 

A Good Home, Books, Children's Books, Young readers

A Trio of Thanks!

Thank you:

To sweet Lukas and his parents for this photo.

Isn’t that a great reaction to Myrtle?

Blog Photo - Lukas reacts to Myrtle

To blogger Solo Mom Takes Flight (Sarah Pittard) for this lovely photo of her daughter, the kind review, and her mention of my wonderful older daughter   here.

Blog Photo - Daughter of Sarah P with Myrtle

And to Chip Barkel, writer and realtor, for including Myrtle in his blog post about the colour of the year. Though it’s my first time seeing purple coconut macaroons, what a delightful idea!

Blog Photo - Purple coconut macaroons

Thank you all.

#loveyourshell

A Good Home, Courtice North Public School, Myrtle The Purple Turtle, Myrtle The Purple Turtle in the Schools, Young readers

A Great Morning with Young Readers

I spent a recent morning with dozens of young people at Courtice North Public School in Ontario.

Their teachers had included Myrtle the Purple Turtle in their recent studies. Principal Peter Bischoff invited me to visit.

Blog Photo - School Cynthia holds book and talks to students

I was nervous!

Writing for your readers is one thing. Hearing them talk about your book — and answering their questions — is quite another.

Myrtle the Purple Turtle

And though I’d won awards and acclaim for my children’s TV programs in earlier years, it’s been a long time since I visited a classroom.

The first thing I noticed was that Mrs. Murphy, the teacher who introduced me, treated the students with great respect, addressing them as “Ladies and gentlemen”.

When you are nine or ten years old and are addressed as “Ladies and gentlemen”, what do you do? You live up to it, of course.

Blog Photo - School students 1

Wow. What a smart, polite and thoughtful group. Their observations about the book’s key messages about difference, the role of friends, and accepting oneself and others, were sharp and eloquent.

We talked together about why “the mean turtle” behaved so badly toward Myrtle and whether that turtle might have herself been bullied and considered it normal to be mean.

That led us to talk about a sequel.

Myrtle Picture - Thud

“We followed Myrtle through her day and saw what happened before she met the other turtle,” one astute young woman noted.

“But we didn’t follow the other turtle before she and Myrtle met. Maybe the sequel could tell us more about what happened before to make her so mean.”

“But the story is about Myrtle the Purple Turtle, so if you (focus on) the other turtle, you’d have to change the title of that book to ‘The Mean Green Turtle'”, a young man observed. 

Blog Photo - School student writes

As you can imagine, the discussion was intensive and fabulous. Mrs. Murphy had asked me to talk a bit about the writing process. Discussing the characters and story development for the sequel was one practical way of doing so.

Blog Photo - School Cynthia holds book and talks to students

My great thanks to each and all of the students.

To principal Peter Bischoff, and the teachers of Grades 4, 5 and 6  — Mrs. Fedewicz, Mrs. Posteraro, Mrs. Durst and Mrs. Murphy: 

Thank you for using my book as a learning tool and thanks for your warm welcome.  You made my week!

Thanks to Jennifer Pym-Murphy for the photos.