Wednesday, 24 July 2013

On the Road Pt. 4... Antigonish Highland Games

Antigonish

Antigonish, (pronounced Aunti go nish) is in Nova Scotia, which means New Scotland.  It is the longest running Highland Game in Canada, one of the oldest in North America and one of the biggest outside of Scotland.  This year it was celebrating its 150th year.

We set up in the rain and worried that the whole weekend would be washed out but we were told that in the Maritimes the weather changes every hour and people will come out despite the rain …. Because in the Maritimes, they “are not sugar cubes”.   Fortunately we were only able to test the first of these comments because by the start of the games, the sun was shining and it continued to shine until well after we packed up.

The Antigonish Highland Games brought in visitors from all around the world.  We met people from all over Canada, the United States, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, and other places too numerous to mention.  They were there to hear the pipes and bands, see the dancing, cheer on the participants in the Heavy events, the tug of war, and the team pulls, which look like a tug of war but have very different strategies.  (It is rumoured that they practise by hoisting a barrel of cement over the rafters in a barn and keep it there sometimes for 2 – 3 hours).  Everyone was a winner because everyone had fun and challenged their teammates and themselves.

Ruach Crafts was a vendor for the first time at the Antigonish Games.  We were reminded of the time 5 years ago when we were the “new kids on the block” at the Ontario/Quebec games and just as happened there, the neighbours welcomed us and helped us to make the most of the weekend.  Our thanks especially to Carol and Kevin at MacLeod Highland Outfitters in Moncton, New Brunswick for their assistance.

Most notably while we were at the games was the mention on 98.9 FM and the discussions with a fabulous North American magazine called Celtic Life.  (If you are at the Cambridge or Highlands of Durham games, ask us for your complimentary copy).  We began many people, young and old, on what we hope will be a lifelong love of stitching. And, made many new friends who were already stitchers and excited about our unique kits and patterns.

Help us to help you put the spirit in your stitching!

Monday, 15 July 2013

On the Road... Part 3. PEI!



PEI – More than the Land of Anne of Green Gables

Wednesday my daughter and I spent the day in PEI.  This really is not the way I recommend seeing the Maritimes.  More maps and brochures and we were on our way.  Once again we went to every museum and gift shop, including all of the Anne of Green Gables and Lucy Maud Montgomery historic sites.  


For the first time, I truly understood and appreciated the Anne of Green Gables stitchery by SaggiTaurus Needlecrafts.  I had seen pictures of Dunes but had never been this close. I had read the Anne books but had not walked in the home where they were written or seen the artifacts that inspired both the books and the stitcheries.  It is a part of the country largely untouched by the 21st Century.  Our drive could have easily been in the same covered wagon that Anne arrived in.


But, there is more to the island than “the little red haired snippet” as one curator called Anne.  There is a whole island steeped in early Canadian history.  We were treated to the sights of the beauty of mid-afternoon tea and shown stitchery that young girls had stitched well over 100 years ago which continues to be prominently displayed in century old homes. 




As soon as the dust settles, and I am back in my office, I will post a list of the shops in PEI that have already ordered product from us.  Hopefully the list will increase.

Next post …. Hear all about the Antigonish Highland Games.

Help us help you keep the spirit in your stitching!

On the Road... Part 2. New Brunswick!



My daughter and I arrived in New Brunswick on Tuesday with nothing but a list of museums and gift shops.  At each location she picked up more brochures and maps.  I drove and drove and drove.  But, it was worth it … we drove through some of the most beautiful country that I have ever seen.  At one point I commented that we had seen more trees than gas stations, and it was true.

Everyone we met was so friendly and eager to welcome us to their part of the world, even when I drove out of a parking lot and went the wrong way on a one way street.  Everyone stopped so “the tourist” could turn around and try again … and no one was angry.  


My first view of the Maritimes has been wonderful.  It seems that this area is gearing up for the World Acadian Congress next summer and they are expecting 60,000 people.  


At each of our stops, I showed our new Canadiana line, including our Maritime Memories and our Canadian Military insignia.  Shops were very receptive and soon I hope to share with you a list of places where you can pick up our kits and patterns.  As always if you know of a place that should be carrying our product, please encourage them to contact us for information, or contact us directly and we will follow up.


New Brunswick truly is the land of 100,000 Welcomes … Cead Mile Failte.

Help us help you keep the spirit in your stitching!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

On the Road... Part 1

As I write this, I am preparing for a 2 week adventure to Antigonish, Nova Scotia.  I am home from a weekend at the Kincardine Highland Games and will be here just long enough to take a shower, do laundry, and leave again.  I have only once been to Halifax and that was the quickest 4 day conference … but, this is 2 weeks with my daughter, on a road trip from Toronto, through Quebec to the Maritimes and back. 

Originally this was to be a vendor at the Antigonish Highland Games, the largest in the country, but then it became an opportunity to visit museums, military bases, gift shops, and needlework stores along the way, to show them all of our new designs.  I have never ventured this far before, at least not by car.  I am so excited about seeing this part of our country. 

I am looking forward to spending this much time with my daughter.  We have only done something like this once before but that was a vacation.  This is business and we are on a tight schedule.  And, I am looking forward to meeting people across Canada.  We are a big country, held together by our people and places. 

It is my hope to further connect our country by sharing our designs … Textured Treasures’ Cape Breton Christmas, SaggiTaurus’ Anne of Green Gables and military line, and Great Bear’s fall fair projects.  We are rich in culture and our designs reflect that.  I am hoping that people across the country will be as excited as I am when they see our catalogue.

Hope you are planning a summer adventure as well.



Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A Military Wife

This week, both Canada and the United States celebrate national holidays that honour our many freedoms.  These are freedoms that we have fought for many times, over many generations, on many fronts, both home and abroad.  This week, more than any other, I honour those that fought, and continue to, so I may enjoy these freedoms … and I admire those that they leave behind while they protect all that I consider precious.

I am lovingly referring to a soldier’s spouse, parents, siblings, children, and friends.  The sacrifices that they make come from the heart for they are giving of their loved ones. They miss birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, births, deaths … they miss it all and they do it selflessly.  As a community, we remember to say thank you to our soldiers … but, how can we express our gratitude to their families?

I am proud to announce my first design, dedicated to the women who say good bye to their husbands, not knowing if they will ever return, spend months, by themselves, taking care of everything from snow shovelling to parent teacher interviews, and most would not have it any other way. 

A Military Wife is not an original poem, though I wish that I had written it.  Its author is unknown.  Its message is one of strength, courage, patience and pride.  May Gd bless you all.

It is a special woman who is a military wife.   This week, let’s not take our many freedoms for granted and let’s try to remember the men and women who have made them possible.

A Military Wife will be available for sale shortly.  Please email us directly at ruachcrafts@live.com or ask your local needlework shop, museum, or gift shop to order it for you.

Happy Canada Day and 4th of July. 

Help us Help you keep the Spirit in your Stitching.


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Happy Father's Day

Today is Father's Day.  I will spend it with my dad and about 100+ of my relatives.  It is a family tradition, started before I was born ... and I hope it will last long after I am gone.  We have races for the children, watermelon for all, and a baseball game where, to my knowledge, only 1 person has ever gotten out.
So, today's post is dedicated to fathers and sons ... to those who stitch and those who merely support our habit.
When my son was very young, he had NO fine motor skills.  A teacher put scissors in his hand -- I gave him a needle and plastic canvas.  To this day, he hand sews his military badges on his uniform and looked at some stuffed animal kits I was passing on recently and kept a few.
I remember when Rosie Grier, (now I am aging myself), announced that he did needlepoint to relax.  That is why I stitch ... why should I be surprised when a man does so.  If Rosie Grier can stitch so can you ... or the men in your life and they can start as soon as they know that a needle is not a weapon.
It doesn't have to be flowers ... check out our Canadian Aviation kits, or surprise him with a firefighter's prayer or his military insignia ... and give it to him undone.  For little beginners, we even have a rocket ship, a train, a boat, horses, dogs, and a dragon.
Happy Father's Day to all the men who follow our blog.  And, if your men don't, forward it to them.  Any man can be a father, but it takes someone very special to be a dad.  XOXO


Help us help you keep the spirit in your stitching!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Introducing our Canadian Designers Pt. 3



Our third Canadian designer is Sue Preston, who designs under the name SaggiTaurus Needlecrafts.

The idea for SaggiTaurus started in the summer of 1991, when Sue’s son joined the Canadian Navy.  She wanted to create a unique gift for him and she interpreted his Naval Badge into cross stitch and gave the framed picture to him for Christmas.
 


Several friends asked her to do a stitchery for them and she realized that she wasn't the only mom, wife, daughter etc... who wanted to honour someone in the Military. Sue became licensed by National Defence Headquarters and the company was born.  She dedicates SaggiTaurus Needlecrafts to the inspiration and continued support of her son and to the unfailing support that our troops give to us.


Sue’s designs go beyond Military bases, badges, insignia, and ship’s crests, to celebrate all that is Canadian.  She has a full line of licenced Anne of Green Gables designs, a line of designs inspired by her customers, called Maritime Memories, which can be stitched individually or as a set, and a line of Classic Aviation projects that includes the Avro Arrow.


Sue also has her fun side.  Her L’il Stitchies are timeless projects that will help to teach counted cross stitch to anyone and her Timely Comments are appropriate for all with a sense of humour.


Ruach Crafts carries all of Sue’s designs, though they have not yet been added to the website.  (Another summer project …)  If you are looking for a project with Canadian content, filled with Canadian pride, look at Sue’s website.  For a full listing of what is available, Sue’s website is saggitaurusneedlecrafts.com or email us at ruachcrafts@live.com

Help us Help you keep the Spirit in your Stitching.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Introducing our Canadian Designers Pt. 2

Our second Canadian designer is Michelle Edmonds, who designs under the name Great Bear Canada.
Michelle is a mild-mannered graphic designer by day and creates needlework magic by night. Friends say she has “happy hands”, because so often she’s found stitching, beading, rug-hooking, doing punch needle, quilting, drawing and painting. Asked to describe herself, she’ll say, “I love to make beautiful things”.

At www.GreatBearCanada.com, you’ll find traditional, Celtic and contemporary cross stitch designs. Her Celtic designs have been featured in Just Cross Stitch magazine.



 Michelle’s next endeavour is launching “Stitcherama”, a site for contemporary, creative types, those crafters who simply must bring more beauty into the world. She hopes you’ll find some humour, inspiration and ideas at www.Stitcherama.com .

Ruach Crafts carries all of Michelle’s designs.  Most are posted on our website.  If you are looking for a project with a timeless message, look at our website under Ruach Crafts, and look at Michelle’s designs.

Or, watch for Michelle’s class at the fall Creativ Festival where Michelle will jump-start your holiday d├ęcor with a fun, fast, and easy cross stitch project with a twist. New fibers add new dimensions to this folksy, quirky design of a 5" x 7" Long Tall Santa is based on one of Michelle's art dolls.  It features a very velvety coat, fluffy trim and boisterous beard. 

Participants will experiment with different fibres, try French knots and choose their favourite technique for Santa's beard.


Help us Help you keep the Spirit in Your Stitching!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Let the Games Begin...

Let the Season Begin …

It is 9:40 am and I am sitting in a tent at the Rideau Acres Campground in Kingston, Ontario at the Kingston Scottish Festival … the first of the season.  Where is the sunshine the weather network promised?  I am comforted by the blue sky which hopefully means NO RAIN!  But the wind is fierce, my tent is a sail that promises to fly away sometime today … and I am freezing!!!

All the sights and sounds of the games are here … there have been pipers practicing the same songs since before 7 am this morning, a drummer has been drumming on the corner of my table for the past 20 minutes, and the dancers’ families have pitched their tents as the dancers stretch in preparation for their solos and group numbers.  I love to see everyone in kilts … and wonder if it is true what they say is worn underneath … and the kids who live in both worlds with Aeropostale shirts, sandals and kilts.  Being the first of the games, there are the squeals and hugs of seeing someone you have not seen since last September and the chatting to catch up.  And, dare we forget the latrines that we have also missed all winter … or the bugs.

The games have a life of their own … a community within a city.   I had to borrow nails from someone to hold down the tent and lent someone else a crate because she needed a “wee stool”.  Everyone is eager to lend a hand to help put something up or watch over things while you run to get lunch.  And, age has no significance.  Children of 5 and 7 are encouraged to “do their best” as are the adult competitors, some who have been competing for over 50 years. 

Many people have begun to wander by and I know they are just waiting until their child, spouse, friend, parent competes or performs.  Some are stitchers and will pick something up to do while they wait.  For them I have a full line of Textile Heritage kits that come complete with everything from the tassle to the ribbon.  Some are my regular customers … now my friends.  I will show them all of the new kits and patterns, especially the Anne of Green Gables and Military kits.  And others are appreciators and soon to be stitchers.  I will show them the L’il Stitchies, designed for beginning stitchers of all ages.

If you will be at one of the games coming up, send me your wish list and I will put your order away so you are not disappointed.  I rarely bring more than 1 of anything.  If going to a Scottish Festival is not something you have considered, why not check out the list of where I will be this summer … where else will you see someone throw a telephone pole … in a kilt?


Let the Games begin …

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Introducing our Canadian Designers Pt 1


Over the next couple of weeks, I will be highlighting the Canadian designers whose designs I carry.  I hope that you will love their work as much as I do.

Our first is Karen Dudzinski, who designs under the name of Textured Treasures.
Karen started stitching as a Brownie but really picked it up after attending her first trip to the Creative Sewing and Needlework Festival where she bought Susan Portra's "Spirit of the Southwest"; an amazing canvas work that sparked her imagination and desire to design. Karen’s Textured Treasures designs were born in 1997 with the Days series, fusing canvas work ideas with fabrics typically reserved for cross-stitching and hardanger.  Karen has designed numerous patterns that have been sold world-wide.  Karen’s designs are unique in that she continuously breaks most stitching rules combining cross-stitch, canvas work, hardanger, stump work and needle weaving within a single design.  After a brief hiatus while raising 3 kids, Karen continues to keep busy designing small projects for family, church and friends, while working full-time in regulatory affairs.




Ruach Crafts carries all of Karen’s designs.  Most are posted on our website. If you are looking for a project that will be both challenging and fun to stitch, and will look lovely in your home, or someone else’s, look under Canadian designers on our website and look at Karen’s designs. 

Or, watch for Karen’s class at the fall Creativ Festival, where she will be Stitching a Scrapbook Page.  Although the predominant techniques for the class are cross-stitch and bargello, participants will also incorporate counted thread and canvas work stitches using DMC perle cotton, floss, metallics, Rainbow Gallery fibres and more. See how a photo can be converted to cross stitch and receive a converted photo chart from Karen after the show.

Help us help you keep the spirit in your stitching.