I have a thing for doilys-this is not news. This summer my doily collection reached new heights though, and something had to be done! Truth be told I've been collecting doilies for some time and awaiting inspiration...and this summer it finally struck!Each time I visit a city, I'm always interested in scoping out the street art scene and envious of those who return from city vacations with interactive street art photos, especially those wings you can pose with. You know the ones? You know the ones! After watching Colett Miller's TED talk about the angel wing phenomenon, first in LA (the city of angels) and then world wide; I was inspired to make my own for Newfoundland & new-found-lands!Using mostly thrifted and hand crafted doily's I stitched up my wings and installed them on my favourite, abandoned house in Twillingate. The halo was an essential knitted piece to complete the set, and now I'm realizing, a unique piece to the Newfoundland-doily-wing-pie.These turned out to be my favourite project of the year, mostly because they're pretty but also because...1.They put beautiful old doily's to new use! The thrift store always has tons of doily's and you know they were painstakingly made, but what can you do with them? Make Doily wings! 2. I ended up shipping a set to Denmark, where they were spotted by a very rare bird having a lot of fun! Turns out this is the infamous Yarnomaniac prepping for another big What project. If you are scratching your head about what the heck the What project is-check out her recent interview and follow her to find out what she's up to here. Hint hint, the What project is going on an adventure!3. Occasionally I get word of people posing with them and it makes my heart leap for joy! I love seeing how everyone engages with them.My goal with street art has always been to surprise and delight those who find my handiwork. Now I realize that creativity begets creativity, so as each person engages with it differently, the fun is paid forwards, backwards and sideways too!Colette Miller was inspired to paint angel wings, which inspired a worldwide trend that reached Twillingate, Newfoundland. It spread through town and all the way to Copenhagen, inspiring each of us in our own, unique and beautiful way! Where Colett's wings are intended to remind us that we are all Earth Angels. The Newfoundland wings do something similar by reminding me of the unique creative spark that we each contain.Have you had the chance to pose with any exciting and interactive street art? Do the doily wings say something different to you?Comment below or hit me up on Insta. I love hearing from you and would be especially deilighted to see you and some fancy street art or creative doily use! #rockvandals
Knitting and Yoga are perfect bedfellows; more knitters should get 'downward dog'. They also happen to be my two favourite things to do.Perhaps after reading my rationale on why, you too will be convinced of their superpower and inspired to grab both your mat and needles.Here we go.1. Posture:What is your knitting or crafting posture? Most likely, it's highly straining on your back, neck, shoulders and wrists.Have you ever whispered to yourself, "just one more row'', only then to stand up and groan as you realize the tension that's accumulated during your marathon crafting session?Yoga teaches you awareness of your body and how to relieve the stiffness brought about by crafting. Yes! Ergo, more crafting!2. Meditation and Flow:Both knitting and yoga provide opportunities for meditation.Some people prefer still-meditations, while others prefer moving-meditations. Both have their place and this is why you should have both knitting and yoga in your 'toolkit'.Each offers a chance to focus and get in the flow while forgiving the irritations of the day-you just have to decide which one you need in the moment.3. Patience:One of the 'purls' of wisdom that knitting offers is a lesson in patience.You simply cant knit a sweater for a telephone pole in one night. Equally so, you cant master the headstand in your first yoga class. Each requires patient perseverance to manifest results.The way I see it, Knitting cultivates it and yoga rewards it, but the inverse is just as true.4. Creativity:Last year during my big trip around SE Asia, I got to spend four months on Koh Phangan doing upwards of three hours of yoga a day, six days a week.As, the practise deepened I started to look forward to the creative insights that popped in my mind, as much as the physical practise.While I cant do nearly as much yoga now, I can still use it to make creative space... which can then translate into adventures in street craft!So there you have it, knitting is the bomb and yoga rocks, but when combined they seem to generate symbiotic, superpower!Check out this short, knitting-specific yoga video or this video (which is one of a whole series of knitting and crochet-related, yoga content) after your next 'marathon' to see for youself.Anybody else out there have a love affair with yoga?Comment below or holler at me on Twitter or Instagram; I get really excited when I hear from you! Also, have you heard about the upcoming yarnbomb giveaway? If not, check it out here.-Knit well, Be well
Wisdom bomb, mantra bomb, craftbomb...I dont know what to call it but I like it! I heard a quote recently about how if you knew how powerful your thoughts were, you'd never have a negative thought again. This newest 'craftbomb' is inspired by this idea.I often use symbols in my crafty street art to spread an idea or message but rarely words. This is partly because I have been travelling through Asia where English is not the primary language; but also because knitted shapes are able to communicate non-verbally rather well. That said, my knitting mojo has been low since I finished the yarnbomb for Vietnam, so I needed to switch things up. Fortunately, my backpack-crafting kit is able to accommodate both knitting and embroidery and I had a project on back order. FYI: Embroidery is an excellent craft for long term travel on account of its very impressive portability. One additional point for Embroidery please!Now back to the importance of words. Words have a powerful effect on us, both consciously and subconsciously. Some people leverage this wisdom, by repeating valuable and empowering messages, or mantras to themselves during times of frustration or struggle. It may not seem like a radical technique, but you can be sure it's an effective one. In the short-term, you have a strategy that can boost your energy and morale when you're ready to give up. In the long-term, your consistent efforts pay off in the form of an empowered world view. Whats not to love about that?These two shirts were completed on request by my favourite bearded man. They aren't my typical, street-arts and craft style, but they do trumpet a message for all to see. My hope is that they prime everyone who sees them to think positive, empowering thoughts. Just having them around the bungalow has definitely been an inspiring force for me. I've been applying the Will Can Do mantra to my crafting goals (and challenges) and come out feeling very ambitious. If you want a visual of the power of positive thinking, check out this wild video. This little guy clearly lives by the Will Can Do philosphy *pun intended!Will Can Do is a powerful mantra, one that can both pick you up and propel you forward when you need it. Anybody out there use a mantra? If not, give Will Can Do a try next time you feel challenged and be sure to check back in with your results in the comment section below. I am on both Twitter and Instagram and would love to hear from you.Also, I am experimenting with a new look on the blog so take a tour and let me know what you think.
The Lotus flower is an important symbol of human development and potential in eastern spirituality. Lotus flowers grow out of mud and stagnant water, emerging and opening to the sun entirely clean and unsoiled by their murky beginnings. The symbology behind an image of a lotus is associated with its stage of opening (open, closed, partially open) and its colour. White flowers represent mental and spiritual enlightenment, blue symbolizes the growth of the spirit and mind, representing knowledge, intelligence and wisdom with red and pink representing the heart and symbolizing universal love, compassion and empathy.
In January, thanks to a Versatile Blogger award nomination from Quirky Cats, I resolved to Yarnbomb each country that I visited in 2016 and I am delighted to report that I have actually abided by this plan. Cambodia is the fourth country on this years travel list preceded by Thailand, Malaysia and Laos, and of course this means that I strung something special together to celebrate this incredible country.Cambodia is known as the Kingdom of Wonder and there is no more suitable title. Angkor, the main tourist attraction refers to a 400 square kilometre complex of temples (the equivilant of 305 football fields) that range in age from 800-1300 years old! Not only are these temples impressive in their scale, aesthetic and design, they are also incredibly detailed and let's not forget, totally ancient.With enough wandering through temples, your mind eventually shifts towards pure amazement and you start to wonder about their intention, the process required for their construction and of course, to attempt to understand the faith that was required to conceive them.The latest addition to the Rock Vandals wellness catalogue is a blue lotus flower, which as you recall symbolizes the opening of the mind. The Flower of Your Mind lotus is significant as it is the very first Rock Vandal knit-design and pattern; yahoo for progress and yes, you can email me for deets on the pattern.As with most Rock Vandal knits it also includes a call to action which is, for you dear reader, to consider the state of your own minds blossom. But before that, it is worth noting that blue lotus flowers are always depicted as either closed or partially open, never opened in full bloom- thus indicating that the opening of the mind is a lifelong pursuit for even the most intellectually enlightened among us.An open mind is a worthy pursuit along the path towards well-being, as it provides opportunity for new expanding experiences, connection with others, both with those who are similiar and those who may be seen as different, and enables a deep and broad curiosity that will stoke the spirit for a lifetime. Amazingly, it doesn't even seem that difficult to cultivate an open mind; the key to unlocking a closed mind is a sense of wonder. And this is great news as we each have the innate ability to wonder.The key to unlocking a closed mind is a sense of Wonder (Click to Tweet)Allow yourself the opportunity to wonder. There is much to learn right where you are, and it's even easier if you have strong wifi connection! The essential components to cultivating an open mind is active curiosity and consistently putting yourself in a 'learners' state of mind.Here are a few fun ideas to help you increase your wonder and care for the flower of your mind:* Challenge yourself to cook 4 new themed dishes this month. They could be Thai or Cambodian dishes but they can be anything you want. Ever tried cooking vegan or raw or macrobiotic? You could try your hand at Cambodias national dish, Fish Amok* Think about ways you could minimize your waste production. You could start a vegetable garden, try composting, keep re-usable bags in your car trunk, commit to using a travel mug or experimenting with vegetarianism or Meat Free Monday's, use Tupperware instead of take-away containers. Have conversations about how you and your family could be better to the earth* Try something new and fun. What about a dance class, slacklining, cake design, drawing a caricature, laughter yoga, learning a language, starting (and finishing) an online course* Ask someone to teach you about something they are passionate about* Be interested and ask questions when presented with someone or something newDo you have a practise for keeping an open mind? I'de love to hear your mind opening insights so comment below or holler at me on Twitter or Instagram to share how you cultivate an active curiosity and sense of wonder.
This knitted adenture began in the fall of 2014, when I read Craftivism, by Betsy Greer and made my first official Yarnbomb. It was a bit pitiful but it ignited joy in my belly each time I passed it. This feeling of joy, sprinkled with a very tame bit of mischief, was something I was craving. I had a handful of people approach me that first week, asking whether I was the one responsible for the tree, to this day I don't know how they knew but they did, and the sparkle I saw in their eyes was undeniable.Initially I denied everything, and savoured the experience of orchestrating a small town mystery. Rumours flew- was the flower vine at the post office to celebrate the post masters marriage? Would the hospital administrators really allow a deadly knitted snake at the entrance of the health centre to remain? Would the mayor approve of all this? I kept knitting and being crafty and the more I did, the more I opened my eyes to the community. I started to see where people gathered and hear what their frustrations were, like potholes. As a result, I started to wake up to the great communicative potential of street art and the inherently inoffensive nature of craft and knitting. The main issue threatening the community was much graver than potholes though, Twillingate's Life force was at risk. A ship, the Manolis L, containing almost 500 tons of oil had sunk thirty years prior off the nearby coast and despite local reports of oil patches, no effort had been made by the Canadian government to remove the vessel. Cofferdams had been installed but these were believed to be leaking as oiled birds had washed ashore. Concern over the sunken ship and the subsequent impact of a more serious leak was rising across the province. A friend organizing a local force inspired me to get involved and as a result, Old Manolis and the Sea was born. Old Manolis and the Sea was the catalyst for the opening of the Rock Vandals registry, and was one of two big projects launched at the Knit and Yoga retreat. The first project, Old Manolis and the Sea came together through the effort of 11 women who contributed their time and skill to knit and crochet starfish for the main causeway in Twillingate. The project used black, amongst acquatic coloured starfish to represent the potential environmental impact of an oil leak from the Manolis L. On World Ocean Day in 2015, I installed 40 woollen starfish on Twillingates Tickle Bridge, the main thoroughfare in town. Word of the project spread enabling a second installation in the provincial capital of St. John's. Word spread even further and a New Brunwick based artist got involved, creating a zine, and knitting and abandoning a starfish (and zine) at the Aquarium du Quebec. By now kind government officials had removed the St. John's installation and returned it to me so I had enough starfish for a third installation! With help from Mo Wren, the artist, we arranged for a third installation riverside in the national capital of Ottawa. Our second big project was Chillingate. This project was completed by 5 different women who knit and donated panels to me, which I assembled and installed just as winter was rearing its head. The main intention of Chillingate was to bring a bit of fun and colour to the long dark days ahead. This puppy was 10 ft tall and each coloured panel took atleast 5 hours to make- this is highly committed gang activity! Since Chillingate I have been backpacking through South East Asia and yarnbombing solo-style, leaving knitting in each country I visit, which now includes Thailand, Malaysia and Laos. For the past eight weeks I have been studying yoga in Koh Phangan, Thailand and have been feeling increasingly inspired to use my knitted street art to promote wellness and positive mental states.This series is relatively new but the topic is vast, so I am anticipating it will be a journey itself. If you can believe it, yacking about knitting, craftivism and street art is a big passion, so if you share my enthusiasm you gotta let me know! I'de also love to hear you yarn on about where your knitting has taken you over the years in the comment section below.Knit well, be well!