Monday, May 13, 2013

Spring Has Sprung and Brings Lots of Changes!

Lots of changes going on right now! I got myself out of my little health slump and am feeling a lot better. Also, have embarked on many new things to make me feel better which I will write about at some point soon. Spring has sprung in Inuvik and the snow is melting thanks to warmer temps and longer sunlight hours. I am loving this and the energy that comes with this.

Lots of changes announced in the curling world which all came a huge surprise to me. John Morris left Team Kevin Martin and joined up with jum Cotter in BC. They have announced they are doing a five player rotation and if John Morris reads my quilting blog... please contact Kerry Galusha and find out the pros and cons of this. It is WAY harder than it appears and I cannot speak for my Skipper but I do not like the five player rotation. Someone needs to step up and suck it up and be a designated fifth player.

As for the women's curling teams. Team Webster out of Calgary picked up Cathy O. There can be arguments for and against this and some people on Twitter and in the curling world have lots of opinions on this change. Cathy O. says she will be playing in playdowns for Scotties with this team also. So my reason for mentioning all this is to take a look at the Alberta ladies teams still in running for the Olympics! The list is long and full of talent! Kudos to Alberta ladies and thank god I returned North after U of A and that I did not stay in Alberta. This is an intimidating group of girl power!!!

As for quilting. Monday night is our last meeting of the Inuvik Quilting Guild before we break for the summer. Of course, we will be holding our summer quilt show but for now quilting activities slow down and we change our attention to the Inuvik Community Greenhouse and growing veggies! This weekend we hosted our last class of the season; a jelly roll quilt and the results were amazing (check out the photos below).

Class sample by Shona Barbour.

Amazing aqua and red combo by MA.

2 participants brought this same Northern Lights jelly roll, JB and BG.

AJ was up to her usual tasks of re-designing the pattern! Awesome!

So change has come as we switch seasons and activities. I think as I have gotten older (and wiser) change becomes much easier to deal with and I welcome this new time of year. Happy changes everyone.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Guild Inspiration

Inuvik is a town of 3,800 people located on the Mackenzie River Delta, above the Artic Circle, at the end of the Dempster Highway and only kilometres from the Arctic Ocean. There are many things that make Inuvik unique including; the igloo shaped Catholic Church, rows of rainbow coloured houses, the utilidor system allowing our water and sewage pipes to be above ground and away from permafrost and the Inuvik Community Greenhouse (an old hockey arena turned into over 100 community garden plots) but we also have a Quilting Guild that averages 25-40 members annually with huge participation and a regular annual calendar of activities and classes. Check out more of Inuvik at: or the Great Northern Arts festival at:

One of the major accomplishments of the Inuvik Quilting Guild is that we have built a big quilting community with no access to a quilting store! This means beginners are introduced to quilting only through the eys and knowledge/skills of other members. The intrigue of fabric and gadgets is gained only through trips to the 'south' or through online shopping. Everything else is a sharing of ideas amoung members.

Each Monday night the Guild members meet at the local College (in a classroom space donated) to sew. Everyone brings their own sewing machines but mats, rotary cutters, rulers, irons, and boards are shared and stored in the classroom. Even in 40 below weather we have good turnouts!

Here is a sampling of what you can see on a Monday night in Inuvik with the Inuvik Quilting Guild. remember that these are all quilting who have been quilting less than 7 years (the Guild began in Summer 2006).

Crazy Curves by LS. This was a class we did in Winter 2013 to introduce members to the Drunkard's Path block using templates. LS got back into quilting after moving to Inuvik.

1930's 9-patch by KA. KA is the newest mom in the Guild, after a 1 year baby boom in the Guild. During a Winter UFO weekend there was a row of carseats at the front of the class. This is a very 'young' Guild.

Machine Quilting by AJ. This is AJ's first time machine quilting and look at the Hawaiian flowers. The quilt was pieced during a Beginner Bento Box class in Fall 2013. AJ is also a new mom and brings experience with a degree in Graphic Design from the University of Alberta to the Guild (hence her amazing doodling skills).

Batiks by LK. This fabric was purcahsed as a kit online which is not uncommon in the Guild. LK is the newly wed of the Guild, following her July wedding and now finding time to quilt.

Tiles by CM. This project stunned the Guild last night. CM is a new quilter since Fall 2012 and has jumped right in. CM said it great last night that she got back into sewing and the gym and feels so energized from this.
So proud of the Inuvik Quilting Guild and I cannot wait to see what the 7th Annual Summer Quilt Show and a new quilting season brings us.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Challenges (The Good Kind)

The past couple of weeks have been full of Challenges. The fun, creative type of Challenge, so don't start worrying about things! For the last few years, I have been really into quilting challenge projects. The Challenges provide a basic set of rules or guidelines and then the rest is up to you to complete. The Inuvik Quilting Guild has launched an annual challenge each year and I am proud to say that 2013 is the 7th Annual New Year Creative Challenge. We continue to get a good contigent of new (and old) participants in this each year. Now that I think of it, it might be a good idea to a pan-territorial quilting challenge, rather than just with Inuvik Quilting Guild!

The first Challangee I worked on was for the 2013 Trend Tex Challenge, organized through the CQA. If you do not know about the CQA then check it out at: I really believe in having a national quilting organization and encourage people to purchase a membership or think about attending Quilt BC 2013 or Quilt Canada 2014.

2013 Trend Tex Challenge
Artist: Shona Barbour
Location: Inuvik, NT
Title: Summer 2005
This piece uses the goals of the Modern Quilt Movement. The theme was interpreted as a set of feelings, rather than an image. This took me back to a road trip to the Okanagan in Summer 2005. Ideas of the warmth from the sun, wind in our hair as we cruised with the convertible top down, the taste of sweet wine, clean rows of grape vines, and the pleasure of being with friends and family.

The next challenge I completed, again organized by the CQA was the Where Do You Read Your Canadian Quilter Magazine?. This idea came to me suddenly last week and I knew I had to complete a project for this.
'North of Sixty and North of the Arctic Circle'
12" x 12"
Hand dyed fabrics
Shona Barbour
Inuvik, NT
When thinking of where I read The Canadian Quilter it occurred to me that the magazine is usually my reading when I travel. North of Sixty refers to my frequent trips to Yellowknife (my home town), where I am usually curling, attending quilting classes with the Yellowknife Quilters or visiting with family and long time friends. North of the Arctic Circles refers to my travel associated with work. Although my office is located in Inuvik, NT, like most government offices, we services the most Northern region (Beaufort Delta Region) of the NWT. This means lots of time spent on the plane or in hotel rooms and lots of time for catching up with quilting activities from the Rest of Canada!
Only the land mass north of the sixtieth parallel has been included in this image; Alaska, Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, Northern Quebec, and Greenland.The lower red line indicates 60 degrees and the upper red line indicates the Arctic Circle. I completed it after Earth Hour on Saturday, March 23, 2013.

And so now I am left with only my Inuvik Quilting Guild challenge to complete. However, for now, I have no idea what I am going to do for this one but it will come to me at some point. Due July 1 so lots of time?!?!?!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Spring and Transition Time

This is always an interesting time of year for me as I return from the Scotties to Inuvik where there is a significant amount of more sunlight than when I leave for the Scotties. This two week period from mid- late February makes a huge difference to the seasons in the North. It brings me back to Inuvik with renewed energy and a real sense of home and place. This year was no different.... I love Inuvik in the spring.

It also means that my focus lessens on curling and increases onto quilting. I am craving time in my sewing studio right now and have been squeezing in as many spare moments each day to escape into my studio for just a few extra stitches and seams.

Yes, the Scotties was amazing. Great fans, great teammates and major attention on yourself all the time (!!!!), plus all the time to compete against and catch up with your good friends. Each year I have so much to be thankful for with curling. Curling really has been a great blessing in my life and as an adult I am even more apprecaitive to have competitive sport still in my life. In Kingston, I managed to play one game, against BC. When the girls first asked me to play I was very hesitant but then decided if nothing else I could punch a bit of extra energy in them to take on Team Canada in their final game. And so I stepped up and played third for team NWT, maybe not playing as stellar as I could but holding my own and pumping up the girls. We lost that game on a last rock shot by Kelly Scott and team but it was a good showing for our team that had been struggling. And more importantly, the girls played their last game that afternoon against Team Canada AND yes, they pulled out the win. A perfect way to end a tough week!

I returned from Kingston on the Monday, rested that night and then re-entered the quilting world! More handstitching of binding (boring) and some new projects (exciting). I had to put my million class projects/samples aside and focus more on a project that challenged me. Therefore, I pulled out some fabric Eric Carle panels (yes, I know , everyone has them!) but started on a Kaffe Fasset block arrangement to complete the quilt. I think this is an interesting (and not boring) approach to a project! I love Kaffe Fasset and his appreciation of repetition and a million little pieces. And so, yes, I have been sewing lots of 16 patch blocks but loving every minute of it!

I'll continue to see what the lengthening days bring into my sewing room and what the sunlight inspires me to create as we continue into the Arctic spring days!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Unusual Facts.... Scotties Info

Things have been a struggle for Team NWT at the 2013 Scotties in Kingston, Ontario. I am starting to think that '13 might be a jinked year for this team. BUT we still have 5 games to go and lots of shots still in us!! Plus team spirit is still high and in curling that makes a big difference.

We did our Upclose and Personal interview yesterday at the Heart Stop Lounge. Megan and Sharon did a great job answering questions and it made me realize how intrigued curling fans are about the curling and how things work at the high performance level of this sport. Here are some interesting facts that people might like!

1. Yes, we all work day jobs! There are a few curlers who with Sport Canada funding are able to take some time off from their careers to focus on curling but almost all of us have day jobs and very supportive employers who are flexible with the time off that is required.

2. We do a lot between games and during our off time. No one really sleeps between games anymore and we refer to this time as active rest. We make sure we eat when we need to and then spend time checking out the city, shopping, or other activities (manicures, fabric shopping, visiting friends/family, etc). We do not just go back to our hotels rooms and sleep. And Yes, we watch a lot fo TSN curling also, when we are not on the ice.

3. There is no advertising allowed on the bench or ice surface (except the approved signage). That is why we all have the same water bottles. Anything we drink (G2, water, etc) needs to be put in these bottles before we get to the arena. It is also why we all wear the same jackets and carry the same duffle bags. The CCA supplies these to us so that there is no advertising during the event on players. Logos are also limited on our equipment so at times you may see duct tape covering things.

4. There are 2 change rooms at the arena. One for yellow rocks and one for red rocks. This means we never change in the same room as the opposition. So there are 4 teams in each change rooms and they are jsut the regular hockey locker rooms you see in any arean (urinals and all!!!). It is funny but you end up sort of being in the change rooms with the same teams each games, just the way a round robin works out.

5. Every team has a schedule. This means each and every moment of the day is planned. We know when to eat, what to eat, when to leave the hotel, when to wake up, etc. It is all scheduled. The Scotties is an event that takes a ton of planning and stamina and the schedules ensures that you are not tired out mid-week and or rushed with your preparations.

6. Who rooms together? Each teams gets 4 rooms and we indicate ahead of time who is staying with who. Most teams will give a room to each of the coach and fifth player and then 2 players will room in each of the other two rooms. All of these costs are covered by the CCA.

It definately feels at time like you are in another world during the Scotties but at the same time it also feels like home. There are no longer any surprises and things are planned out so much to make each player feel comfortable throughout the week. Plus the volunteers and hosts are so great to us that anything you need is only one request away. And after your first Scotties, everything of the week becomes so normal and natural to us but still interesting to fans of curling! Keep cheering!!!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bell Let's Talk Day!

Today (Feb 12, 2013) is a big day for 3 reasons; 1. It is Shrove Tuesday and we get to eat pancakes, 2. I leave for the 2013 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Kingston and 3. It is Bell's Let's Talk Day bringing awareness to mental illness. The pancakes need no further explaination so let me start with the Scotties. I am thrilled to be going to my 6th Scotties and with my same great teammates from last year. Yes, we all know the story of Team Galusha and the flu from 2012 and we are aiming for much better results this year (without the flu!). I leave today to meet up with everyone in Yellowknife and one last practice game before we take off tomorrow. It has been another busy year for this team and I am proud of everything we have done to date. As I decided to take a bit more time for my own adventures (I went to Hawaii in December!!!), and so I will be traveling with Team Galusha as the fifth player. But take my job as a benchwarmer very seriously!

Now Let's Talk... many people do not know that I struggle with generalized anxiety. This is not anxiety that comes along as a panic attack or depression but rather it is anxiety that is always present and never goes away. I remember having this even as a child and waiting for my parents to pick me up from activities or hating going to summer camps, etc. This anxiety hit a record high 3 years when I fainted at the gym and suffered from a major concussion. After many tests it was found that I fainted due to my body not regulating blood pressure and a couple other health issues but I still really believe that some of this was a sign that my anxiety was out of control. After 6 months of suffering from mega post- concussion syndromes I turned to yoga and the Doctor (giving me a prescription for citalopram), this along with curling and sewing has saved me. It is like a whole different way of life and outlook on things. Sure there are still bad days and bad moments where I need to slow down and breath but things are soooo much clearer and calmer for me.

Many people ask how my anxiety affects curling. It is the opposite where curling affects my anxiety in a positive way. As more athletes talk about mental illness I feel the same as what others are reporting. Curling is a time when I have complete control over my body and my mind. When I step onto a sheet of curling ice (or sometimes onto the treadmill) I get this wave of calmness through my whole body. As soon as my feet touch the ice nothing else matters. I think this is what gets an athlete addicted to a sport and maybe why many athletes suffer from mental illness. There is no better feeling for me than the bubble of curling!!!

And so with all these happy thoughts for today; good luck and good curling. Many things to look forward to over the next couple of weeks (and lots of Blog posts).