Tag: Barrie

Fallow Period, Brick & Mortar

Fallow: (Of farmland) ploughed and harrowed but left for a period without being sown in order to restore its fertility or to avoid surplus production. – Oxford Dictionary

SpoolLounge_OPENAfter an intense fall and winter of stitching, stitching, stitching products for my Pocket Alchemy lines of baby things and little felt matryoshka dolls, I set that work aside and shifted my focus abruptly and dramatically when an amazing opportunity presented itself.

I’ve been busy with my dear friend and fellow maker Laurena Green, developing and opening Spool Lounge, a proper brick and mortar sewing studio and shop in downtown Barrie, Ontario. We opened just four whirlwind-months ago in early March!

Our story is told beautifully on our Sunday Crush profile so I won’t repeat it on this blog. Suffice to say that a lot of stars aligned suddenly and we leapt off a cliff and landed with a lovely shop and a buzzing business.

Then a mere six weeks after opening Spool Lounge, I missed a step while going downstairs in the 3am-darkness to grab a diaper for my wee lad and ruptured my achilles tendon. Which necessitated a major slow-down and has been really, really good for me, though challenging – particularly the mothering on a dodgy leg bit! Three months later I find myself here, just able to take my first unassisted steps on my nearly healed but now weak and tight left foot. Small mercy – it wasn’t my driving or sewing foot, whew!

I couldn’t resist embroidering my initial emergency room splint since it was wrapped in flannel and I had four days of waiting around to see a surgeon, soft tissue not being as urgent to treat as broken bones. I was then cast in a “pointy cast” – much to my dancer-self’s amusement – and the tendon was left alone to heal back together over six weeks. No surgery! Amazing. Now I’m in a walking cast and am slowly stretching the tendon back to a 90-degree standing position. Lots of physio and pilates to stretch and strengthen my depleted left ankle and side.


I’ve been doing lots of hand embroidery (heavenly!), teaching classes at Spool Lounge, learning to be a merchant (Wholesale Accounts! Customers! Marketing!) and balancing mothering and achilles rehab (with grace and success all the time, obviously!).

My boys are enjoying being shop kids and have adjusted remarkably well. They are now stitching up a storm themselves in fact!

And so now, after a delicious and required fallow period on my “own” work, I’m turning my weather-eye back to my matryoshkas, going to photograph the ones I have done and finish up some of the bigger dolls that I started in the fall. My embroidery stitches are refined and I’m excited to get back to my little ladies, who I’ll be able to work on in my new studio space!

M is for May and Matryoshka (tattoo)


May has been epically busy, and in addition to my usual exploits, I got inked! Yes, tattooed, me. I always wanted one when I was a teen. However, being a practical creature and an obedient dance student, I thought I might regret it and also piss a bunch of teachers and choreographers off. But actually, I regret not doing it. And since there’s no time like the present, I researched artists last year, found Angie Fey at Archive Tattoo in Toronto and fell in love with her work. You should check it out. Extraordinary. Whimsical. Colourful. Charming. I wanted 4 Matryoshka dolls; I love them, their secret stacking, their folk-arty-ness, all the symbolism potential.


And it has been started, my left forearm is officially hardcore. The outline is done and June brings colour. I am in love with my little dolls, representative of family, carrying images of things precious to me. Wearable art — and a great conversation piece I’m discovering already! Does the moustache not charm your pants right off?! And the flowers. And the variation in grey. The little cheeks. The pleats in the scarf knots. Sigh of contentment.

Other adventures this month included a bunch of dance work with Simcoe Contemporary Dancers for their show Departure. And, you know, I managed to choreographed a work, costumed a few pieces, do lighting design and assistant stage manage some shows. I love love love me a dance show, but honestly! Over-commitment is my middle name me thinks. Truly soul filling work though.

I’m also getting prepped for sewing commissions, which include: costuming the New Actors’ Colony Theatre company in Bala, ON this summer, a couple of dance shows in Toronto, and 2 wedding dresses! Plus my own sewing work (ha ha). And the usual mothering. Ahem. Working from home with an one-and-a-half-year-old is insane. I constantly over-estimate how much I can get done, but this period shall pass, I know. So I mostly put aside my own work and just hang and nap and do things that don’t involve pointy objects during the daytime! My shop can happen any time, the little man will grow past needing me like this very soon, never to return to this magical/overwhelming time.