Portrait stitching in Guelph

I’m soooo excited! UK-based performance artist Harriet Riddell is coming to stitch in Guelph this Saturday, December 6th. She’ll be setting up her sewing machine here in the What World Common Room (123 Woolwich Street, Second Floor, Guelph).

Be sure to call (647-231-8111) or email (riddell.arts@live.co.uk) this week to book an appointment if you want to be certain to sit for your portrait! Or take your chances by dropping by to check it out first. Bring your friends, bring your family, bring your dog. A stitched portrait is a great keepsake and totally unique Christmas gift.

Even if you’re too shy to sit, Harriet’s is a fascinating sort of performance art. She works stitching live subjects in real time. I always marvel at her easy manner and mad skillz. Come and see!

Guelph flyer

Previous GDS posts about Harriet: Has sewing machine, travels and Getting stitched at the Cabbagetown Festival

As a happy scheduling coincidence, on your way to see us, say hello to John at Earth Tones Studios, our new neighbour down the hall here on the second floor. Earth Tones is having an open studio this same day. John teaches workshops on how to make drums as well as percussion instruments, including found materials such as durable PVC plumbing pipe. He facilitates drumming circles and sound scapes for people of all ages who respond to the call and the dance of the drumbeat.

Just eat real food, JERF

Of all the ways I have described how I’ve been eating the past few years, just eating real food, known as JERFing, is the closest fit. Are you surprised to hear that you might not be eating ‘real’ food? Curious? 17 simple ways to JERF is a great place to get a quick start.

I am by no means super strict about it, but I think I eat ‘real’ about 80 per cent of the time. One of my daily habits is a big green drink. It gets tons of vegetables into me without endless chewing. It’s super nutritious and makes a body feel great. As food is fuel, it’s a bit like putting premium gas in your car.

Pro tip: Once I established it as a habit, I switched from a starter juicer and invested in a pricey vitamix a couple of years ago and this, IMHO, has two big benefits: 1) pulp stays in for fibre-y goodness and 2) cleaning the machine is super simple.

This morning’s vitamixed mash up? By most to least quantity: water, spinach, kale, cucumber, ginger, apple, almonds.

mix it up


Sunday morning sitting

LKP profile picLocal bookseller and long-time meditation teacher Ken Hood is offering a series of monthly Sunday morning sessions, suitable for everyone. Join him this weekend, October 19th at 10:30am at Living Yoga and Health, 105 Wyndham St. N., downtown Guelph. Be sure to mark your calendar for future sessions: November 16th and December 14th.

Read more about the sessions and take a bit of time to browse around Ken’s site at agoodheart.ca. It’s an excellent resource for Buddhist and other spiritual book reviews; digital and local meditation resources; poetry, quotes & inspiration. It is also home to The Lovingkindness Project — a challenge to bring a simple practice of lovingkindness into your life. (You can also find The Lovingkindness Project over on Facebook…go ahead, give it a try and give us a like!)

Sitting at home

Do this! Quick and dirty instructions for starting a daily meditation practice at home — notes from last week’s whiteboard:


Just Sit! at home:
1. Decide to practice daily
2. Create a space
3. Minimize distractions and interruptions
4. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes
5. Sit
6. Do not get up until the timer goes off

As to the details of #5, what to do when you’re sitting: breathe. Follow the breath with gentle, firm attention. Breathe in, breathe out. (Um, that link’s just a song I like, not further instructions.)

We’re sitting again Tuesday, 7-8pm.

Just Sit! sessions for Fall 2014

IMG_7430Dates and details for the Fall 2014 sessions of Just Sit! are all set. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and seeing new faces amongst the regular meditators. The first sit is next Tuesday, September 9th.

These Just Sit! sessions are all about actually getting down to practicing. Meditating with the group once a week and sitting even just a few minutes a day at home is plenty to get you feeling the benefits of mindfulness. Sitting with the group gives you the experience, confidence and encouragement to practice at home and the at-home practice gives you the experience, confidence and enthusiasm to bring back to the group. Win-Win!

It’s not enough to have the best intention. It’s not enough to KNOW all the benefits. It’s not enough to have read tons of books. The magic happens only when you stop and sit. Learn to BE with whatever arises.

Need a little more convincing? See Mindful.org’s 5 Excuses Not to Meditate and 5 Reasons to Give it a Try Anyway.

The Just Sit! sessions are suitable for anyone. No experience necessary. Instructions will be tailored to suit needs. For all the details about what to expect and where to be and when, see Just Sit! Meditation Classes.

Has sewing machine, travels

UK-based performance artist Harriet Riddell is coming to Toronto. Trust me, this is something worth seeing.

Harriet stitches portraits using her sewing machine. Last year when she visited Canada, I had my portrait stitched and was utterly charmed and awed — both by the intimacy of the experience and by her seemingly effortless skill.

Earlier this year, Harriet explored India with her sewing machine and this wonderful video was made while she stitched a tailor as he worked in his shop in Delhi:

“Would you mind if I set up to stitch a picture of you…with my sewing machine?” Sweetie!

Don’t miss the opportunity to see Harriet perform live in Toronto and to get your own portrait done. Unique and rare gift idea! She will be at Kendall & Co, 227 Carlton Street in Cabbagetown on Saturday, September 6th and Sunday the 7th.

Head over and see more of Harriet’s work on her blog: institchyou.co.uk

harriet stitches on train