Friday, December 31, 2010

friday forte: should i review?

treading the boards, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

spoiler: if you are here looking for a "year in review" post, this isn't it. please call back in late february

It's the year end, it's also friday, and thus it should be a friday forte post where I metaphorically (or whatever) lay myself bare while incorporating a look back at how far I've traveled on my journey of mid-life /late motherhood enlightenment.

Hell, no! It's bad enough trying to remember last week let alone all year, and, as I read recently, dwelling on misery in the past can depress the mood.

So I'll just focus on what's in my head currently (honest - I did have a very enjoyable christmas despite all the lead in). I might get around to reviewing the year once I make it into 2011 :)

So ... back to regular friday forte planning ... except that I actually feeling quite content and un-ranty. I'll try not to disappoint.

We (the usual suspects plus our visitor) went to the ballet yesterday afternoon. Ballet BC are hosting performances of The Nutcracker with Alberta Ballet and hundreds of (unpaid) local children. It was the first ballet performance attended by the Wee Guy, and the second by mr ebb.

the ballet - Klara and her prince danced their little hearts out, the other principals less so (apart from an extremely hot arabian trio), the ?unpaid children were cute as the mice and less cute but talented otherwise, the choreography was unchallenging, costumes to die for, and the VSO rocked out the Tchaikovsky score (so amazing to have a ballet with live music).
the Wee Guy - entranced thru out (binoculars = a Good Thing to pack in the bag, YouTube ballet vids = good prep)
mr ebb - no fidgeting despite not being a ballet fan
lil sis - did not implode as we raced up to the theatre, almost late

Well, two things occurred to me during the performance.
* Men in tights leave nothing to the imagination.
* Romantic ballet as a metaphor for real life.

hiking companions around the swamp
what are you talking about

Yes, yes, yes I realise that a lot of what I burble on about is re: crafting a life* for myself, working out how to work in, around and in spite of the family, cultivating some independence, carving out a meaningful life amidst the domestic drudgery, etc. But ... doesn't every** woman wish, at some point in their life, for a handsome, charming and graceful prince to sweep into her life, take charge and gather her up in his arms (without taking over)? I know I can "do it all myself" but occasionally it would be nice to take a break, know that someone is watching my back for me, and is ready to catch me if I fall. Also that somebody is willing to lift me higher, to climb higher and bring things into reach.

A lot of what I have been 'featuring' in my friday forte posts can be distilled down to the pas de deux in a romantic ballet; support, love, willing companionship, grace, strength, passion, partnership, and to be swept off my feet more than once in a while.

I think that's as much of a review as you're going to get.
Happy New Year

* and btw, have you singed up for my friend Amber's Crafting Your Life (motherhood, redefined) workshop series, starting mid January (early bird registration ends tomorrow)?
**ok - there's bound to be at least one smart commenter who disagrees

SPT June 12th
get cracking

Thursday, December 30, 2010

SPT December 30th

SPT December 30th, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

SPT = self portrait thursday, in which a bunch of Etsy sellers take pics of themselves

Back on track perhaps after the giddiness of the festive period?
The turkey's a distant memory.
Sadly, one guest is departed (and arrived home safely) though the other is here for another week or so. We have plans.
Gift wrapping is in the recycling bin, the thank you list was handwritten by the Wee guy this year.
I don't feel as though my space has been invaded as much as I normally do during the holidays (you'll be at home for how long? and when does school go back?).

Nope, although the lead in to xmas was, to put it mildly, crap I think that once it got going the whole shebang went smoothishly. I've been blessed with very easy house guests (please come back anytime) and immediate family who yield to my authority whenI get snippy. Catering was a breeze - I cooked everthing (yes, everything) on Christmas Day and it lasted until this lunchtime. Frances suffered the most - she was offered the same meal of turkey/salad/roasted veg/chutneys for the entirety of her stay and ate with good grace/humour (my sincere apologies for the repetitiveness of the fare - i hope the breakfasts/company made up for it).

And that, dear reader is christmas in a nutshell IMHO - mass catering over a number of days without me going near the kitchen. Call it planning, call it survival - it works for me (red pepper and goat cheese flan tomorrow).

Last SPT of the year - hmmm, not looking too bad!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

another last chance to see ....

cross posting in a friendly manner from the other blog (still on a christmas break - stay tuned for tales of wine and snow)
another last chance to see ....: "

During December, artists of the Tri Cities artsconnect group have been exhibiting their work in the Port Moody library. With both 2D and 3D mixed media work it's great opportunity to see a cornucopia of different styles. My cuff link portfolio is on display in the entrance case along with two of my wire crochet purses (the third one sold pre-christmas yahoo) and some felted wire jewelry. Most of the works are for sale so this is a great opportunity to start some early christmas shopping (groan) or that post christmas reward for running a successful festive season!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

post christmas distractions from the never ending turkey

out-of-town visitors + west coast rain + heritage visitor attraction + swanky vintage camera app + small child to entertain + the unbridled joy of a scavenger hunt + carousel rides for all + unidentified shrivelled anatomical remnant = festive fun for the afternoon

Thanks guys!

Monday, December 27, 2010


from the other blog (merry day after turkey re-fest)

dragonflies, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

A new wire and fibre project - dragonfly brooches.
I'll be working on more of these little critters for an upcoming (very soon upcoming - mid January, eep!) gallery group show.

Not quite sure how these will be displayed but the first show (yes, there's a second .... and then? stay tuned for details) has plenty of 3D space whereas the second requires a more 2D on the wall approach.

PS: for fibrey, mixed media fans in and around the Tri Cities, BC Port Moody Arts Centre is showing Kirsten Chursinoff's Nesting pieces during January."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

a very merry one to all

Phew! it is now completed. Family together. Visitor #1 safely arrived. Turkey cooked.
Merry christmas to you all :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

friday forte: let the games commence

So, for all the festive season griping and whinging, dear reader - this is what christmas is all about; unflattering photographs of freshly arrived siblings.

It's just not good enough to post embarrassing self portraits at this time of year (you may not want to check my flickr for this week's semi-soft porn offering - note how I'm not linking!). Christmas is all about family, and mine has arrived (thanks for all the positive travel vibes - her plane arrived early).

Let the festivities commence!
Normal ranting is suspended until sometime in the new year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

the downward spiral towards xmas

homesick tree, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

homesickness tree - nickel silver tree trunk with wire and fibre branches, rooted around a chunk of scottish seaglass

It's the time of year when the homesickness really kicks in. I'm not sure if this is similar for all expats who have family "left behind" but so many seasonal songs tell of being separated and overseas.

It's a time of year when tears fall easily, and memories seem both close and distant. It's a time of year when loneliness is amplified.

twisty roots

My little tree brooch was born out of the theme for a group exhibition I'm taking part in at Leigh Square in Port Coquitlam (opening late January). 2011 is the year of the forest and our group exhibition is about roots. I have some amazing pics of gnarly, twisted roots from the forests around me which was also one of my earliest impressions gained in my new natural surroundings. Guided forestry walks over our first summer in BC were where I first learned about nurse logs, the requirement of fallen trees to act as a nursery and nitrogen bank for new seedlings.

twisty roots on nurse log stump

I rarely act on a creative idea immediately - it has to sit composting in my subconcious for a while, then I plan it out 3D in my head (I'm not that great at sketching out designs). So while the inspiration was taking root in my mind, my thoughts were also turning to the other meanings of the word, roots - to my own roots which are solidly based in Scotland and cannot be ignored.


Although I grew up in Scotland, I'm continuing the process in Canada. My home is now here but sometimes my heart and bedrock is back "home" across the water. I feel rooted thousands of kilometres away even though I'm reaching up for a British Columbian sky. Thus my little trees (there is a small forest of them now) have their own roots wrapped firmly round a chunk of scottish sea glass taken from the beach in the village where I grew up.

cloudscape and figure

PS: travel plans for my sister who is traveling from Scotland to be with us this christmas might need a little divine intervention due to the inclement UK weather - please direct positive thoughts, best wishes, karmic snow dances, prayers, and the like to the travel window over Christmas Eve for her. thank you

Monday, December 20, 2010

it's the most miserable time of the year

winter fair in Princes Street Gardens
full steam ahead for the jolly old festive merry-go-round

Christmas - fueled entirely by female blood, sweat and tears (now that artificial trees are widely available).

Picture the typical home Christmas scenario.
  • Decorations - boughs of holly, swag, tree either groaning under tinsel and baubles or chic and modern sleekly themed, cards artfully arranged, front door wreath or similar, strange glass jar of lights on a string, outdoor lighting plus inflatable snowman/santa and his reindeer galloping over the roof
  • Calories - turkey, stuffed; mincemeat tarts; candies and chocolates; liquer-sozzled pud; all the trimmings; iced fruit cake
  • Gifts, plentiful under the tree, either neatly and festively wrapped or bound in some eco-concious disguise method, including gifts for teacher, classmates and so on ...
  • Legal pharmacologicals - cigars, alcohol, paracetomol, chocolate, sleeping tablets .... all available
  • Christmas stockings - one for each child or child substitute or whimsy, stuffed to the brim, overflowing and full of novelties
  • Entertainments - visits to the ballet, christmas panto, carol singing, craft camps, visits to Santa and so on
  • Cards and gifts to keep in touch with friends and family, presents for the family vet, mailman, handyman, garbage guys, school chums and so on
Now, I'm ready to concede the outdoor lighting heroics and I'm big enough to admit that the list above encompasses my idea of Christmas but they are all also what contitutes the festive season in the eyes of a child. As an adult you can tailor yuletide to your own whims right up to cancelling the whole shebang to hibernate under the duvet, but for children the whole magical event needs to be there on a plate in order to pick and choose in the future. Starting a childhood off with a bah humbug! christmas is sad IMO. Every single item (apart from the outdoor lighting and inflatable santa sleigh) is catered for by womanpower in my experience. Along with running the household, ovaries and a uterus now seem to qualify women to run christmas, to give the family the sit-down feast at minimal effort to themselves ... but at a cost. I've read blog posts and tweets (and even whinged a little myself) about being overwhelmed with the whole jolly playlist required. There's a huge pressure on mothers to deliver The Perfect Christmas - The handmade gifts, The eco-concious festive package, The coca-cola snowscene for the family .... all by themselves. I suspect that I'm not the only mum feeling more than a little burnt out and anticipating the season with anything other than dread.

After all this performance anxiety will you be hoping to sleep through christmas, or have you developed a strategic plan which retains some of the magic of christmas?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

last chance to see ...

Yes, it's another cross post from the other blog :)
I'll be in the gift shop this evening during the performances of The Match Girl at the Arts Centre. Why not drop by for hot chocolate, fun and cider?

last chance to see ...: "

silent auction at Port Moody arts centre

The silent auction fundraiser at the Arts Centre in Port Moody wraps up this Sunday at 3pm. I've had the usual buzz and nerves seeing my work exhibited and checking the bids book every few days to see if I'm popular (yes, both my snowflake brooch and the purse with chainmaille bracelet have bids against them, phew!).

Silent auction at Port Moody arts centre

Each year, arts centre members, instructors and artists from the gift shop can pick up either cradeled panels or a lump of clay to transform into a work of art which is then donated to the fundraiser. I suspect I'm not the only contributor casually flicking thru the bids book to make sure their pieces has a good home for the holidays. For the popular kids there are small bidding wars going on.

I've almost got a popular kid this year :)


Saturday, December 18, 2010

friday forte: i will not

Valentine's Day
valentines roses from mr ebb

(early resolutions - file under "thinking aloud/allowed")

I will not be late.
(Well, you've missed that one already - it's Saturday, dudette!). No more passing up opportunities due to another's inertia. Carpe diem and all that jazz ...
note to self: you go girl!

I will not be that stereotypical naggy, bitchy, older wife.
I owe it to myself to be a person I can stay in love with, not the role life is trying to force me into. If you don't want to do something, it just won't get done - don't expect me to step in anymore.
note to self: reminding is nagging under another heading

I will not be a doormat, self-sacrifice is not on my agenda.
Yes, there is a lot of compromise involved in being a mother and a partner, but since when did compromise become the exclusive property of the female of the house? Anyway, over-compromise leads to naggy, bitchy behaviour (see above).
note to self: it doesn't mean you've stopped caring

I will not be sole domestic facilitator.
Just because I have a uterus and ovaries it doesn't mean that I am any more equipped to scrub toilets/clean floors/meal plan/parent ... I'm not refusing to do them, I'm just saying that I'm not solely responsible.
note to self: it takes two, baby!

I will not turn into a cougar.
.... though this season's leopard print has made its way into my wardrobe (in a subtle fashion, I hope). I might not be the lithe, svelte, youthful version of myself (!) but I don't intend to shrivel up and disappear. Neither do I plan on throwing myself at the lifeguards in the summer (gracefulness in all things). I've no intention of disappearing into dowdy old womanhood but appreciate my wrinkles displace me from 'first flush of youth'. In th absence of reassurance, I need to find myself desirable without seeking external support.
note to self: I'd totally go out on a date with you ;)

I will not be that mum on her smartphone, ignoring her kids.
(pet peeve) So I don't have a data plan on my new android - there is a limit to how connected I want to be in this wireless world. I also appreciate how very consuming I find the internet .... it's not very good for my "being present" parenting.
note to self: playing Angry Birds counts too

I will not be flabby.
Hence exercise program in the new year (Y2Play pass for Grouse and skate ski lessons on Cypress, woohoo!). Exercise has been one of the casualities of the craft fair season.
note to self: must insert it into daily life and make it a habit (you know you will feel better for it)

I will write exceptional.
OK Scott, Mr Unmarketing - you win somewhat. I cannot promise stellar 24/7 and I won't stop writing/blogging but I'll try kicking it up a notch. Am hoping the part time college course starting in January will kick butt into gear. Maybe I'll have to write less frequently, maybe I'll have to schedule a writing day ... it'll happen.  
note to self: if you want to write more about science then do it, and get that post in draft out pronto!

I will not be stressed.
I've just completed five back-to-back craft fairs, four gallery shows, three bricks and mortar shop inventories, two volunteer commitment projects (ongoing) and one college application (successful) on top of the normal run of domestic duties .... and my head didn't explode/the sky didn't fall in/ my inventory didn't run out/I still have all my own teeth. I did it! and I'm almost on track for christmas (with visitors). Next time you find me stressing over being overwhelmed give me a good poke please, and remind me I can do it all.
note to self: splash out on housecleaning next time

I will not forget about the llama farm

I will not be anything other than myself.
Please don't ask as refusal often offends :)
note to self: welcome back :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

speechless wednesday: wicked witch

repair despair, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

Frequently, the things your child says can render you, the parent, speechless. Last night, the Wee Guy dropped one of these observations and backlit a corner of his 7y old mind for me.

"I don't like it when mummy gets annoyed with daddy."
"Does it upset you?"
"Does it upset you when daddy gets annoyed with mummy?"
"Oh daddy doesn't get annoyed with mummy."
/back to normal programming

No, it's only mummy that's the nagging, whiney, complaining bitch round here, spoiling everyone's fun and darkening life around the house.

I have no intention of enlightening him about why daddy does indeed annoy mummy, nor will I try to tell him my side of the story as I don't think a child should ever be used as a confidant in the struggles between parents. But somehow I will try to show him that the cruelty of withholding discussion, avoiding conflict, absence of criticism, and rabid head-in-the-sand-edness is just as unkind as turning up the volume and equally as detrimental. In fact, one leads to the other. Ignoring a problem does not make it go away, and pretending it doesn't exist won't make it disappear. In any kind of partnership, both parties have work to do and it's seldom down to just one.

I have no idea how to even start with this as I'm still in the "it's really not fair" stage today. Ever since he was born, I've been trying to model constructive adult problem-solving relationship stuff for him so he knows that though life is not always a bed of roses, there are ways of dealing well with it. I guess I've failed. Living with a habitual conflict avoider (his parents apparently never argued) places me firmly in the role of Queen Bitch cos I'm the only one who brings up The Issues. Sadly, his anything-for-a-quiet-life attitude turns up my volume until I learn to self-mute, leaving The Issue unresolved, and no it doesn't go away. In over 19 years it never has

So, that age-old parenting chestnut - how do I make sure my Wee Guy doesn't end up like his mum or his dad? How do I make sure he is open to dialogue with a future partner? How do I impress on him that there doesn't have to be a gender stereotypical nagging, whining partner alongside the strong silent type? Is there such a thing as constructive problem solving and relationship maintenance when there is such a huge personality clash? Or should I just take a deep breath, hang up my individuality, and take one on the chin for motherhood, stepping back into my role of household concierge/PA for all things domestic?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Out and about

Now that craft fair season is over I've had the chance to get out and about to catch up with my work in some of the local galleries. Last Wednesday, the Wee Guy and I drove thru torrential rain and rush hour traffic to spend a few moments (quite literally) with my wire and fibre floral brooches at the Maple Ridge Art Gallery where they are part of the group show, Ensemble.
The show features groupings of works by a number of artists, focusing on the artist's own thematic in assembling his or her mini collection. Although at first glance a varied assortment of works, closer inspection shows how powerful curator Barb Duncan's vision of having assemblages from a larger number of artists can be.
Well worth a visit!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just In Case ....

Just In Case .... cross posted from another blog (for the benefit of all you locals)

Christmas is coming, originally uploaded by Blackberry Artists.

.... you didn't know, our Marketplace is open ....

For a sneak peek check out this slide set on our flickr portfolio, and start making that list.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

fibre friday: swatching

fibre friday: swatching: "fibre friday: swatching: a little something from the other blog to pass the time while I sell my butt off (oh for that to be so) at New Westminster Farmer's Market'

swatch: spring, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

I admit I'm not usually too keen on swatching for anything. It always seems a complete waste of time and creative energy, and meh! I can usually cope with the wrong size or whatever.

I never swatch with wire and fibre, preferring to create on the hook and treat each new project as a brilliant adventure.

Except now. I'm working on a wire and fibre series for the four seasons (not just the two we have in Vancouver, rain and even more rain), and wanted to explore some new techniques with different yarn combinations. Each swatch was prepared on an 8 chain square of tinned copper wire crochet (copper for autumn) with the new fibrey experiment embroidered across the mesh.

The one shown above is for Spring (pre-felting). I used brilliant shades of green to illustrate the fresh shoots emerging and roving French knots as the blossom buds.

So far, the Spring project has not yet emerged but I have included the French knot idea in another piece, skookumchuk, to convey the idea of foam and frothy wave edges on the roving whirlpools in this cuff.

wire and fibre cuff: skookumchuk



Friday, December 10, 2010

friday forte: taking it by the book

I've got nothing in me (quite literally) right now. All my fretting about Christmas prep, craft fairs, gallery exhibition prep, last week's leaky water main, the chequing account being empty (yes, at only the first week in December), getting asked to do my first solo show (yay!), volunteer stuff, housework, childcare, parenting issues, and so bloody on has culminated in my guts turning into a rapid transit system.

Do not come visit right now.
I will be fine for tomorrow's (last) craft fair but thinner.
So far I've eaten yogurt and tea with no ill effect.

It's been a good reminder to me to prioritise only the priorities and not to worry needlessly about 'that which I cannot change'.
Lesson learned.

... and I got final acceptance for the college diploma course I want to take part time starting in January.

Yay me! Let's hold it together till then (and beyond).

Thursday, December 09, 2010

something for the weekend?

something for the weekend?:
a little something from the other blog

the latest batch
my latest batch of wire and fibrey goodness

My very last Christmas fair for this year is coming up on Saturday. I will be at the New Westminster Farmer's Market, open from 10am to 2pm.

If you need further temptation, try the market message from the market manager copied in below. Hmmm - tempted?

"There is a chill in the air and a sparkle of frost on my lawn as I sip and enjoy a cup of hot tea. I’m looking forward to our next winter market and am thrilled that we’ll have five fresh produce vendors along with vendors selling seafood, dairy, meat, jams, jellies, dips, and bakers galore. I hear rumour of Christmas fruit cake! Yum! In a hat-tip to the gift giving mood of the season, extra artisans and crafters will be in every nook and cranny we can find. Shopping locally is easy at the market.
We’ll be listening to the sounds of The Singing Lovelies, a local acappella sister duet performing traditional and modern holiday favourites. Thanks go to the New Westminster Museum and Archives for dressing the ladies in period costumes.
We’re thrilled that our friends at Knit 1, Take 2, a knitters’ group dedicated to sharing the skills and the laughs, will be hosting a “knit-in” in the lounge. They’re also bringing along finger knitting, spool knitting, and yarn art for the kids. Whether you’re an expert or if you’ve never knitted you are welcome to join the volunteers from Knit 1, Take 2 and learn about their group and enjoy some knitting. If you have needles, bring ‘em along, but feel welcome with or without. Joining them in the lounge is Harmony Works Chair Massage – treat yourself to a little timeout!
We’re also pleased to have as extra guests in the lobby the Parent Support Services Society of BC, an amazing federally registered charity whose goal is to build healthy communities, one family at a time. They’ll be offering their main fundraiser – Cooking Up Comfort – a cookbook chock full of recipes, activities, and parenting tips for just $15.
Last month, courtesy of Translink, we gave away a 3 zone transit pass to one lucky market shopper. She won just because she showed us her bus transfer and was entered in the draw. This month our transit incentive is a gorgeous recycled fleece zip up jacket, perfect for the chilly weather. The entry box is located at the RCFM info desk in the lobby, where you can also pick up a 2011 RCFM membership for just $10. Be a part of our organization!
The winter market is Saturday December 11th from 10AM-2PM at Holy Trinity Cathedral, located at 514 Carnarvon Street in New Westminter. It is located very close to the Columbia Skytrain station and free parking is also available courtesy of the City of New Westminster in the Downtown Waterfront Parkade, only a few minutes walk from the market.'


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

wordless wednesday; that was Got Craft?

... and next up is New Westminster Farmer's Market on Saturday ( for details).

ebb and flo by pomo mama design click to shop pomo mama design online!