still here . . .

Even though I am still packing boxes (not done yet) and helping steven hand-carry over a number of odd shaped things, I find myself still here taking some photos. Thus, the new blog header I put together using Photoshop, Picasa and Picnik (through Picasa). Kind of silly, but not really I guess! I still have that an urge to do SOMETHING creative and my studio is completely packed up!!!!!!! This is hard to believe but true. The contents of my desk are the only things in my studio, that have not been packed and will soon be. The printer and scanner are still here, but we will hand carry those over closer to Moving Day. Yesterday Steven moved the studio cabinets over . . .



we are very lucky to have this luxury of moving in a bit at a time.


Chloe investigating the back yard . . . .

This will be a lovely home for us. Thanks for visiting, I'll stop in as I can. One week till we move!
I hope you are safe tonight, thinking of my family & friends in the Northeast. Love, lenna



If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.
 ~ Marc Chagall


creative play: it's good for you!

I hosted a prayer flag swap recently, see the results here. It turned out to be a really fun swap, more than I anticipated when organizing it. Many of the participants found they so enjoyed working on these easy to make small flags, creating them with prayers, wishes and good thoughts in mind. There was a huge variety of flags which you can see if you follow the link above. A lot of us said, "I think I am addicted to making  these!"  When Jan Smith added a link to her photos on her blog, she wrote: I'm still addicted to making them...so if anyone out there fancies swapping a shabby style prayer flag (1 to 1 swap) I would love to hear from you.....

So guess who wrote back to her? That's right, me! I figured I would need a break from that tedious job of packing, so I went ahead and agreed to a trade. I knew Jan loved "shabby chic", so I took some fabric I had found and plunged in. These flags are small, around 5" x 8" - so it didn't take long and was a treat for me after a morning of squishing things into boxes and going through oodles of packing tape. While packing up some of my fabric I found a really old piece of cotton print that I made something out of 20 or 25 years ago!!! I also purposely chose one of my grandmother's old linen pieces with cherries on it, very small in size -not sure what it was used for, some type of napkin? I also chose a lace doily & trim for a shabby look. If you click on this first photo, you can view them all in the lightbox . . . . I made 2 layers for this flag, one muslin and one the old cotton print and only sewed them together at the top so they could move freely.


I sewed the doily on only via 1 straight line in the middle so it would flop over.
There is my Nonie's 'cherry' linen piece layered under.


I added a quote printed on fabric (found while packing) for my thoughts 
or wishes . . . and some cotton lace across the bottom



I also cut the floral print so it would be fringed


On the back I sewed a business card


Here it is -Voila! 


I sent this to Jan today . . . it is traveling to the UK so it will take a week or two if we are lucky and she is sending one to me today as well, what fun! My received prayer flags are shown via the link - wow, so many of them! Everyone was so generous and I received many flags as gifts. They stayed up outside for about 2 weeks and are now packed in a box to be brought to our new home.

New home? Yes, our closing is tomorrow morning!!!!!!!! We will move in about 3 weeks to a home on a canal right off the Braden River, and we have decided to rent our current home. I have Nia White Belt Training starting on Saturday that runs long days for a full week. We (mostly Steven!) have some things to do in the new home like painting the kitchen (cabinets too) and all the windows being replaced with Hurricane ones . . . Steven and I have an anniversary (together 8 years) coming up October 25th we'll be celebrating in Casey Key with our boat Chelsea in tow. I still have lots of packing to do here. I really have only just begun! So, that is my story, what about you? I cannot promise to answer but I would so love to hear from you. 

Hope all is well with you & yours. 
xo lenna  

wolfe island, ontario

Steven and I are preparing for a 3-day, 1500 mile drive from Florida to Canada with our 2 dogs Asia & Chloe, our boat Chelsea and two canoes! The 2-person Peterborough canoe my dad made will go on the roof of our Subaru. This ensures that Steve and I can take some beautiful canoeing trips together, most likely with the dogs in the boat too - they don't like to be left behind!

Steven's small one-man sailing canoe he rigged himself will fit inside our boat Chelsea. We'll be trailering Chelsea behind the Subaru. With the little sailing canoe he'll have the opportunity to explore on his own . . . and with it's tuned-up lawn mower engine, Chelsea can take all of us lots of places - even across the river to Kingston! Remember, we are going to be on an island! Since the family cottage is directly on the St. Lawrence River - mouth of Lake Ontario, the availability of boats is a high priority for Steven : ) Below you'll see the bunkhouse of the cottage to your left.

This is a family parcel with many cottages that Steven grew up going to in the summer-time. Every year he would go to Wolfe Island with his family and later on his own. His grandmother was born in the 'big house' on the property and between that big house and all the cottages on the property, Steven would see various cousins, Aunts and Uncles every year. He has a very large extended family with about 140 relatives! The first time I went to Wolfe Island was in 2005 after we married. The impression it left on me was that it was such a beautiful and peaceful place. Wolfe Island is very rural, in fact Steven's family still owns farm fields there. We went there together every summer until after we moved from Connecticut to Florida in late 2009. We did not want to leave town while my dad was ill with cancer. Dad passed away October 1, 2011 and we decided this year to make the long drive in August and stay for 3 weeks. Here is why I love it so . . . these photos are from our last trip there in 2009. Below, Steven walking towards the 'big house' and the Oats Barn. If you click on it you may be able to see the widow's walk on top. The St. Lawrence and the boat docks are down the hill to the left.

Below - the Deming's Dock was originally constructed by Steven's great grandfather and updated by his Dad in the 1960's. Kingston, Ontario is across the way.


 The 'big house' where Steven's grandmother was born.

Looking from the big house - that is the drive shed. The cottage we share with Steve's brothers is on the other side of it.


 Steven's grandmother's garden at the big house.

 Looking from the big house across the river to Kingston.

 Something new in 2009 was added to the farmer's cow fields - wind turbines!



walking down Third Line road . . . I had just taught Asia how to do a "High 10!"

 The cottage steps that look out over the river, towards Kingston - 3 1/2 miles away.

 Getting our boat "Buzzy's" motor ready . . . you see Asia and Chloe keeping their distance!!

 such cutie pies... they are sitting in one of our driveways!

The motor is ready so off we go! Steven has had this boat since he was a kid.

 You can tell Asia hates boating, huh?

 The family property as seen from Buzzy . . .

 Love this!!!

 In 2009 we trailered the melonseed sailboat my dad built up to Canada. Here is Steven paddling it around the dock to where we can get in, take off and go sailing.

 The dogs are following, not wanting to be left behind . . .

 Asia is ready to go!

 me and Chloe too ; )

We also love canoeing when there . . . . in my dad's handbuilt Peterborough

 The Simcoe Island ferry is in the distance -it's a cable ferry.

 Simcoe island is directly in front of us.

 I think you can see why we like wolfe island . . . . life is much quieter there.

 And I have a fabulous studio there!

This year my son Decklin and his partner Tina will spend a week with there with us too. : )) so nice. The internet speed is very scarce on the island with only dial-up. I will turn my attention to other things I think. You may hear from me again before we leave - but if not, don't worry!
There is a cute 2 minute video I did in 2009 with some additional photos: Wolfe Island.

And there are also earlier photos on my original web site. They are from 2005-2008 and one photo shows me finding my art on the cover of Expression Magazine for the first time, in a bookstore in Kingston, Ontario!!! Enjoy and thanks for visiting, lenna

He who knows others is wise; He knows himself is enlightened.
  ~ Lao-Tzu

making a kayak paddle

My husband Steven has found great satisfaction since moving to Florida by taking the woodworking skills he learned from my dad . . . and then applying them to making something he knows well and loves: kayak paddles! Steven recently sent what he described as "the best paddle he ever made" up north to the wife of a very dear friend of ours, Garth. His wife Nora is the kayaker in their family! Garth was the best man at our wedding in 2005 and Steven & I have both known him forever. I was just 14 years old when I met Garth, and Steven and I originally met in 1972 because of Garth! Here’s what Nora had to say after using Steven's handmade paddle for the first time . . . the direct link to the video is here if you don’t see it below: http://youtu.be/h6nSq1rrS_A

 
An enthusiastic testimonial on one of my husband's super lightweight kayak paddles. Steve Deming's paddles are handmade from cypress wood in a modified Greenland style with long, narrow, tapering blades. The paddles are all hand-shaped in Bradenton, Florida at Lucas Boatworks. They are also very lightweight, weighing only between 20 and 28 oz.
 

We so enjoyed received this short video from them!!! When Nora speaks of the paddle being effortless, I believe she is talking about how lightweight the paddle is, making it easy to power her boat even in winds and not get tired. Steve's paddles weigh between 20 and 28 oz, which is very light weight, but he also makes them strong.

Here is Steven in action, making a paddle in his shop . . .

He uses skills my dad taught him . . .

 yes, I gave him my bone folder for this part! He's preparing to airbrush . . .

I have put together a series of videos sharing his airbrushing and finishing process. He’s actually painting the paddle he sent to Nora in these videos. Links are below":

Part one: getting started airbrushing

Part 2: more of the process (many layers)

Part 3: finishing the paddle

I filmed and produced these videos at Steven's request and you can sometimes hear me in the background!  It was fun to do and I learned a lot about filming & editing. Below is the paddle rack Steven built outside his tent shop at Lucas Boatworks. My dad would be proud! In fact, that is my dad's John Deere tractor. Steven uses it all the time.

My dad’s John deere Tractor

My dad’s John deere Tractor

Always do right. This will gratify some of the people, and astonish the rest.
— Mark Twain

steven's art: handcrafted paddles

My husband Steven started making handcrafted, custom made paddles earlier this year. It was a natural thing actually. He was a white water kayak guy for many, many years and he still loves flat water paddling.

He always tells me that the paddle is your connection to the water. When we moved here, he spent much time with my dad learning woodworking skills he never had before, so he was in perfect alignment for this. I believe his paddle making started with my friend Cheryl Wilson, who gave him the idea to make a stand up paddle (SUP) for paddle boarding. Here’s Steven with his first hand crafted paddles on December 31st, 2011! The SUP paddle is hanging right next to him.

Here's me and cheryl with her finished SUP paddle on January 7, 2012

Since then Steven has been perfecting his skills . . . 

He has even gotten out his airbrush and tried various kinds of wood and techniques.

His paddles are purposely extremely lightweight, weighing only 20-25 ozs. They are also very beautiful.

These paddles are practically dripless (no water on your lap when kayaking) because of the way Steven shapes the paddle blades; see below. He uses tools that were my dad's to make these including some tools that dad made, keeping dad and all he taught us in our hearts and in our spirits.

The blue speckled paddle above is Cheryl's new kayak paddle!

I have just finished editing and producing a set of videos that show Steven's process of airbrushing a "night sky" / star design. One day I went to Lucas Boatworks where Steven spends time working on these paddles and other boat related things and filmed him as he worked. I will embed this first video here. There are 3 videos total and you can find them here on my YouTube site if you so desire a peek into his art! I am obviously very proud of him. There was a lot of raw film that had to be edited and I had to learn how to do it . . .  but I did not mind the work at all. xoxo

Part 1 of 3: Steve Deming gives a demo on how he airbrushes the handle caps of his handmade Kayak paddles. The paddle he works on in this video has a beautiful 'starry night sky' design. His paddles are all hand made from cypress wood in a modified Greenland style with long, narrow, tapering blades.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
— Anais Nin

float and dance

Last Wednesday Steven and I joined my friends from Conscious Movement and Nia for a sunset cruise on America's only floating chapel. Below is a photo of my friend Cheryl Wilson in front of the chapel on Sarasota bay . . .
Cheryl is obviously very happy to have received the kayak paddle Steven created for her,
painted in pretty mermaid colors (the top one)

Yes, the chapel floats and we all boarded! 
This boat/ chapel cruises the beautiful Intra-coastal waterways between Sarasota and Anna Maria Island on the gulf coast of Florida where there are beautiful sunsets. We danced into the sunset on the only floating chapel in this Hemisphere -the other floating chapel is in Australia, wow!

I have created 3 very short videos from this event with the help of my husband Steven, who filmed 2 of them. 
You can find all three of them on my You Tube page: www.youtube.com/creativelenna.
My favorite is the 3 minute one titled: The Floating Chapel, dance and float!
My friend Frieda told me it had her dancing in her studio in Scotland! 
We are cruising into the sunset as "Shout! You make me want to shout!" is playing.
~ such fun. 

Thanks for tuning in . . . more art to come.

You never know what you can do till you try.
  ~ William Cobbett