Planet Nilknarf

March 2012

March Birthdays

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Welcome to Planet Nilknarf



It's finished! Let the bells ring and the banners fly!!! As promised, here are the step-by-step pictures to show you how “Rizzo” was “reborn”. During the Christmas holidays I started with a coat of Gesso pimer:

It wasn't hard to decide which of my carousel horses I wanted this one to look like so I worked from Janette's original idea:

When I completed the primer I started with the body coat:

After painting the saddle I applied a yellow base coat to the mane and tail.

After completing the paint job I used Mod-Podge to apply cut-outs of assorted Gas Station logos.

I also selected an assortment of “Time Capsule” items to put inside the hollow body of this horse to be opened on what would be my 100th birthday: July 28th, 2064. These items would include the following: 1. My KISS concert ticket from when they performed here in Oshawa. 2. My tickets from both Gene Simmons speaking engag4ements 3. My plane ticket from my Spokane, Washington trip 4. My “wooden nickel” from PTC #6 in Burlington, Colorado

5. The first “Frequent Rider pass I made for the Carousel of Friendship 6. The “Frequent Rider” pass I saved from the St. Louis Zoo carousel 7. One of my DooDoo the clown trading cards 8. An envelope with a horse designed by my friend Lisa Pisano-Hayley I also typed up a few pages with pictures of my quilts and a few words about the carousel project. During the weeks leading to and during the Christmas holiday when we were being rushed around during the Mad Clean-Up I came across the following picture that Lisa had drawn and chose my own colours to make it the penultimate square on my latest quilt:

I think it reminds me very much of that humongous “Denver Broncos” statue that overlooks the highway out in Colorado.

Carousel of Friendship Cover Story
My quilt is FINALLY FINISHED!!! Actually it's been finished for the last week or two but I needed to find the right place to view the entire quilt so it could be photographed in its entirety.

Here is the last square:

I also took my teacher's advice and started a quilt with horses that represent the ENTIRE MULTIPLICATION TABLE. Here's what I have so far:

I recon it may take at least a year or two. Meanwhile I try to work on these horses mostly on the weekend and Joey's Farm Mural as much as possible during the week. It won't be easy though. There may be times when I have to put her project on hold a few times in order to prepare products for my upcoming sales. There's the one at Armour Heights Presbyterian Church in Toronto on Saturday, April 21st starting at around 6:00 pm, and this is also a SYMPOSIUM year!!!! The Geneva Autism Symposium is my BIGGEST and BEST sale but it only happens once every OTHER year!! Dates have yet to be confirmed and when they are I shall publish the info. I need to make more sets of family and emotional puppets and I want to make some ladybugs. Those went like HOTCAKES at the Wind Reach Farm sales and when Janette saw them she immediately bought herself a set of QUINTUPLET bugs!! I also need more Ewetopia sheep T-shirts and I want to make more carousel horse ornaments. Last

Symposium I didn't have enough so I had to stay up late when I got home after the first day to make more and as a result was quite sleep-deprived. I have to be SO CAREFUL to pace myself during these events because there is so much excitement and potential for drama!! Please pray for my protection. I ended up in the hospital with my first (and hopefully LAST!!!) manic episode just after my first Symposium!! It was a very emotional and exciting time for me. I was over the moon because I made over $300 that first time. I also had to deal with huge crowds and it was someone's brilliant idea to book our event back-to-back with the Baby and Toddler show so I had to deal with wall-to-wall screamers when it was time to leave the building. I was also dealing with my husband's illness at the time. On the way home from my second symposium I had that bit of unwanted drama with that guy who gave me attitude about my suitcase. I was lucky I had people with me to help intervene on my behalf. I wasn't so lucky last time. I had to do everything all by myself. However I was lucky after all because there was this nice lady who had a funeral to go to in Peterborough the next day so she took my suitcase in her car for me so I wouldn't have to lug it on the train. This time drama happened to somebody else for a change. Another autistic young lady had a horrendous screaming meltdown and the people who were trying to help her did EVERYTHING wrong! I was dying to get away from all the noise and by the time Margaret showed up to collect my suitcase, security guards were arriving on the scene! By then I desperately needed a CIGARETTE to calm myself down. And I DON'T smoke. Not usually anyway! Maybe two or three times a year at the most. Sure the Symposium may be a lot of stress, but the sales and the contacts make it all worthwhile!

Community Day
Thursday, February 9 was Community Day at Durham Continuing Education. It was a very special day for me because I got to talk to the art class about my favorite subject, carousels, of course. The night before I had a bit of a panic because I tore the place apart but couldn't find my Shiny Green Binder ANYWHERE!!! That binder is FULL of all the information on my Carousel of friendship project including reports about my quilt. But it was no major loss after all because I stayed up late that night typing out THIS REPORT: which is better than ANYTHING in that gronky old binder!!! I was able to access it on the Internet and show it on the screen with the projector as I spoke to the class about the history of carousels and their various styles and carvers and as I went on to talk about my travels and the Carousel of Friendship project. I even went to the printers earlier that week to invest in more colouring books and business cards which I handed out. What started out as a 20-minute presentation ended up being nearly an hour long discussion as I gladly answered any questions anyone might have about

the subject of carousels! I also had this display in the hallway where people could see my latest quilt up close along with “Gas Sign Horse” and sign the Guest pages in my Sketch Diary.

I am very happy to say that I've already received a few submissions of art for my next quilt!

I have already started embroidering the first one for my next quilt!! These scans hardly do justice to the real horses in person. Note to self: the peace sign is neon green with florescent

yellow although it shows up sort of a turquoise shade in the picture here. “Heart Horse” is a pale silvery gray, “Peace Sign Horse is sort of a pastel indigo-purple with a florescent neonpink tail and “Angel Horse is pink. I literally have BALES and BUSHELS full of embroidery thread here in my studio but I think I'm going to have to buy some more of that rich blue that Shannon's second horse is!

Illustrated Lives

Welcome to my exciting new column “Illustrated Lives”! You may recall in last month's issue, one of my book reviews was about the book “An Illustrated Life” by Danny Gregory. Well, I've fallen madly in love with this book! This book has changed my life for the better in so many ways, first of all by inspiring me to start my own sketch diary, pictured on the right! I wish I had my own copy of this book. I was going to take it back to the library today but just HAD to hang onto it a little while longer, especially since nearly every artist in this book has provided a link to his or her own website, which I was determined to list and share with my readers every month. This is our first artist on the list, Mattias Adolfson: Looking at his pages in Danny Gregory's book was a delightful ice-breaker and lingering over his website has been amazing. I especially like the videos he has posted of the pages of his books as they are being turned. His illustrations are so full of fascinating intricate details! I am really enjoying his robotic creatures! Seeing the videos of the pages of his books being turned inspired me to do mine: Our second chapter is from Peter Arkle. This is his website: I really like the animation his homepage and I've just dropped him a line asking to subscribe to his newsletter.

Here is Rick Beerhorst's website: Lots of beautiful, colourful stuff there and I've also submitted a request for his newsletter too. He also recommends the following link: This link contains works by a variety of artists as well as books and CD's mostly with Biblical themes. Since having listed all the links that were in “An Illustrated Life” I am making a point of sharing several of them each month and dropping a line to each of the artists whenever possible to show my support and encouragement. Their newsletters will give me something nice to look forward to other than the usual Facebook stuff that floods my in-box. Here are a few pages from my own Sketch Diary:

Mine is full of several colourful “blank” pages for friends and well-wishers to write down their thoughts and blessings to be shared with the future because it's going as sort of a “Time Capsule” to be placed within the hollow box construction of the first carousel horse I ever build! I have to admit I was really blown away by the digital art and animation I found HERE: Butch Belair's sketch book is full of detailed drawings, mostly of architecture. His use of photographic imagery is even more impressive! France Belleville has a wonderful treatment of everyday objects: Her picture of her bottle of Vic's DayQuil when she wasn't feeling well is one of my favorites! It is inspiring because it shows so much effort and realism at a time when she was feeling discouraged about not doing enough drawing. I've really enjoyed looking at her portraits, especially “The Stache” and her animal pictures, especially the giraffe. Lots of studies of everyday moments, including pictures of her daughter's toys. Another thing I've admired about her work and most of the artists I've seen so far has been the patience and attention to detail in complex street scenes around the neighbourhood. I wish I had the patience to create stuff like that. So far I'm always being sidetracked by the adventures of my cartoon characters! That and pictures of carousels! One thing I've noticed through the adventure of discovering all these artists sketch diaries is that many of us like to use something called Moleskine. Many of these Moleskine books have long, folding pages! Perhaps my next book will be a Moleskine. These long pages look like so much fun for wandering, imaginative scenes, and of course, France Belleville's blog led me off on this other exciting adventure; “The Moleskine Exchange”

Book Review
The Chocolate Lovers' Club and The Chocolate Lovers' Diet Carole Matthews The Chocolate Lovers' Club Life is full of unexpected twists and turns for Lucy Lombard and her friends Nadia, Chantel and Autumn who regularly meet at a place called Chocolate Heaven. Revenge is sweet when Lucy catches her boyfriend Marcus cheating on her so she sneaks in and trashes his apartment, complete with the stink of rotting prawns stuffed into his sofa!

Nadia's marriage is in jeopardy due to her husband's gambling problem. And Chantel's sexless marriage leads her into the arms of a thief who after a night of wild passion, has robbed her of all of her money and valuable jewelery. Lucy then meets Jacob, an attractive and sophisticated, but extremely busy gentleman who takes her out on some pretty amazing dates. There is also chemistry between her and her boss, Aiden, also known as “Crush”. During a team-building social event, she accidentally injures him on the go-cart track. Awkwardness eschews when Lucy introduces Jacob to her friends only to discover what a small world it really is! You'll find out why... And a plot to get revenge against the man who stole from Chantel leads to further awkwardness when Marcus, who has proposed to Lucy after begging for her trust and forgiveness, takes her there, saying he's already booked their wedding. How does she get out of this mess? Prepare to be amazed! The Chocolate Lovers' Diet Lucy and her friends are back with more crazy adventures. Due to a broken leg, Lucy can't go to Australia to be with crush. A misunderstanding makes her think he's cheating on her and, on the rebound, she accepts yet another marriage proposal from the notorious Marcus! Tragedy strikes when Nadia's husband's gambling addiction leads him to Las Vegas. Chantel finds out she has a “bun in the oven” but doesn't know who the “baker” is! Autumn's drug-addict brother, Richard, is in trouble as usual, causing some unexpected drama on Lucy's wedding day, which is fraught with craziness around every corner! Does Lucy marry Marcus? You're in for all kinds of wild and wacky surprises! Seriously, I think both these books would make a hilarious movie! I envision Renee Zellweigger in the lead as Lucy with Bill Pullman as Marcus and Hugh Grant as Crush. Strangers in Paradise A graphic novel by Terry Moore Move over Betty and Veronica! Best friend duo Katchoo and Francine are a couple of hotties who've really got it going on! Feisty Katchoo's shady past is revealed when she is arrested for avenging Francine when her slimy pig of a boyfriend, Freddie is caught cheating on her. Enter David, a shy but persistent young man who meets Katchoo in the art gallery. He's such a nice guy but Katchoo treats him like shit! Katchoo disappears to Toronto for several weeks where we discover she's gone to see an old friend who is dying of AIDS. Francine finds out that her ex is planning to get married to an aerobics instructor in Hawaii--- naked beneath a waterfall!!

This was a fascinating read from start to finish. Prepare to embark on a whirlwind adventure!

Dear Mom and Dad

Dear Mom and Dad, Hello. How are things in heaven? February has been one whirlwind of a wild and crazy month, even though it kind of dragged as February usually does for one reason or another. Here are a couple pictures I came across. Dad, here's one of you, Aunt Jean, Uncle Mike, Aunt Annette and Uncle Pat. I still think of all of you often and hope you're all having a good time up there. I often see you all in my dreams several times a week and remember the old places where everyone used to live. In my dreams, sometimes, somehow, all the houses are crammed within the same neighbourhood. I wonder if that's the way things are in heaven; if all the places we knew and loved here on earth are re-created and brought together into closer proximity. It's been 20 years since Uncle Mike passed away, but Aunt Anne has been managing well on her own and still has her house even though she usually spends winters in Florida. This time of year gets kind of lonely for me because all my relatives are either A. dead, B. in Florida or C. in Holland. Then there's Aunt Jenny and Uncle Tijs in B.C. But I've never been there. I get the impression that , sadly, their not very fond of me. The other picture is Mom with me and Janette in Fenelon Falls. Dad took this picture. We were there for one of my birthdays but I can barely remember. Were we still living in Lindsay or was this during a visit when Janette and I had already moved to Toronto. I still haven't heard from the Gastric Bypass clinic but it's just as well. I was told if I didn't hear from them in four weeks to call them back but I still haven't. My gut feeling says to forget the whole idea. In my heart of hears I can't face the idea of being on a strict diet for the rest of my life and never being able to take a day off from it. Food is too important a part of any given social event in my life and Janette and I keep thinking about the meals we enjoy together on our Niagara Trips, complete with Margaritas. If I go through with this surgery, alcohol is a complete no-no for the rest of my life, even if that's one of the only times a year that I drink. About the best thing about this experience so far has been the fact that I was actually the second “skinniest” person in the waiting room. Then there was one other lady with a huge behind who walked with crutches. Besides Niagara trips with Janette, going out for dinner is

one of the few things Dave and I still enjoy doing together as a couple. And we usually only get the chance to do that maybe once a month if we're lucky. He's had to work so much lately, including most of his Saturdays. It could get pretty lonely around the house all by myself, but to be honest I'm really too busy to be lonely or even bored. The days go by so quickly with all the craft projects I have on the go!! I've just started my fifth quilt and I STILL have a LONG way to go on Joey's project. With the big sale coming up in April and the Symposium coming up in the fall I need to make more sets of puppets, and I have this craft kit to make eight different felt carousel horses that one of my carousel friends sent to me as a gift. When I tackle that project I will be sure to take plenty of pictures to share in my newsletter here. I could have sworn that somewhere I had a photo of myself working on that lampshade for Aunt Jean and Uncle Alex's kitchen when they were still living in Sarnia. Maybe I do but I didn't download it. That and one of me sitting in that actual kitchen. I can just picture it. I was about eight or nine years old and I'm wearing this red felt Oktoberfest party hat with a red feather. It was the colour combination on the logo of this latest quilt that made me think of their old kitchen. The wallpaper had this wonderful floral design in oranges, pinks and greens and I remember it was your wonderful idea, mom, to take me to the Lewiscraft store at Agincourt Mall to buy the wire frame and green, pink and orange raffia to make a lampshade to match that wallpaper. There was still plenty of raffia left so we had me make one for our own kitchen too. I remember like it was yesterday. We wanted to make a round globe like we did the first time but there were no frames like that left, so the second lampshade was more of a bell-shape. Anyway, tomorrow my photography class starts! YAAAAY! Another “Dual Credit” program. It goes from 6:10 pm until around 9:40 although they want us to be there at 5:45 for orientation. I don't have interchangeable lenses on my camera but at least I have manual settings. I am already in my element when it comes to cropping and editing my pictures and the thing about digital photography is that I tend to take more shots of crap I wouldn't waste film on with the old cameras. If I don't like something I can just delete it. I never go anywhere without my camera because I never know what I'll see. For example, does this look familiar?

Somebody just left it outside on their front lawn and I had to take a picture. It must date from way back in the 60's. They sure don't make 'em like that anymore. With this one the lid is actually part of the dryer but the one I remember you having was sort of round and you kept it

in a round suitcase similar to a hat box. Maybe it was a hat box. That one thing we never see anymore; people traveling with hat boxes! I just looked at this dryer and thought “This is SOOOOO retro!” My teacher's family are hairdressers and they still actually have dryers like these in their studio! Anyway, I guess that's it for now. Take care. I love you and miss you very much and feel like I've been left with so many unanswered questions. Questions I probably have asked before but have forgotten the answers to also fall into that category. Love, Margaret

Carousel of the Month
Lakeside Park, Denver Colorado. Once again, I have photos from both my visits to this particular carousel. It hasn't changed much but some of the animals have been repainted:

All my 1994 pics are on the left and the 2011 ones are on the right.

These horses are both very similar, not the same one. But if my memory serves me correctly, none of them were white the first time I was there.

This armored “unicorn” actually looks “newer” in the 1994 picture and has shown a great deal of wear and tear since then. The whole carousel looks like it could do with a compete overhaul to freshen it up but the woman who owns the park likes it just the way it is and doesn't want to change it. This is a very unusual carousel because it claims to be a C.W Parker carousel but it is the only Parker I've ever seen with horses that are standers. All other Parker carousels I've ever seen have strictly jumping horses. This carousel also has an unusual assortment of menagerie figures including rabbits, pigs, panthers, bears and monkeys which are believed to have likely come from Mexico. I don't think I had more than two or three rides on this carousel this time around because I was drinking lime slushies to nurse my sore throat on this particular journey. Those things take forever to melt and I made sure to get myself a second one before I got back on the bus that day. I would have enjoyed this trip a lot more if I hadn't been so sick on this particular journey! Altitude sickness sucks! I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Especially the sleepless nights and excruciating pain that made me wonder how I'd get up the next morning and face the day ahead. I must have really been feeling crappy if I almost wished I could have skipped this last carousel! At least it was the last one. I was so unwell that I even missed most of the banquet that evening too. After I ate my supper I didn't bother with the auction or the rest of the usual facilities, I just went straight to bed. I hope next year's convention will be better. At least it won't be in the mountains so I won't have to worry about altitude sickness. But next year's hotel room BETTER have a bathtub!! Last year I would have sold my SOUL for the comfort of a darned good SOAK!!!


See You next month....!!!!!

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