Saturday, 24 December 2011

The Review

Well well well well well well well well. Well. 2011, you were one helluva year. As far as relationships go you should have probably been jailed for spousal abuse. Never ever in my entire life has one measly collection of days beat me down so badly. But you wanna know something old two-oh-one-one? You are practically done and I am still standing. So *PHTOUPH* 2011-I spit on you. *PHTOUPH* I spit on you twice.

Alrighty as far as things go in the old calendar business, a year is a year and it doesn’t quite matter how badly it beats you down. The days continue to go on and this is why I like to give a good old fashioned review of the days gone by. So this here my friends is a Review of 2011.

Music Awards this year I review my records 1. Kenny Rogers The Absinthe Award
In 2004 I went to Prague for a romantic holiday with my beloved Harry. One night we drank absinthe. That was a strange night. In fact, I think it was the strangest night of my life. I don’t quite remember all that went down, and for that I am kinda glad. We both decided to let what happens in Prague under the influence of Absinthe stay in Prague.

Well would you believe it that when you drink loads of red wine, listen exclusively to Kenny Rogers for about 6 hours with of your 3 loveliest friends the effects of absinthe start creeping back into the old blood stream? Neither did I. But I am not here to lie to you dearly beloveds. At first I thought it was the wine that was making our shadows cuddle. Then I thought it was because I was with my favourite friends that the 4 of us sleeping in my bed was a fabulous idea. But I finally realised that it was Kenny’s buttery voice and songs of heartache and love and love and heartache and a little more heartache and a little more love that had us all weirdly intoxicated.

2. Simon and Garfunkel So nice I just gots to listen to you twice
I am proud to say that I can eat just one Lays potato chip. I don’t like doing it but I can. I have never ever been able to listen to The Only Living Boy in New York once. I have to play it twice, which is kind of annoying when it’s a record but shmaah. It’s such a beautiful song and it moves me deeply every time I hear it and when it ends I feel sad so I have to play it again.

3. The Captain and Tenille Worst Instrumental Solo in the History of Sound
How is it possible when you grow up listening to shit on the radio like Lovers and Other Strangers and Dahlila and your first job is at the Thornhill Fabricland you somehow through some bizarre circumstance never hear the song Muskrat Love by The Captain and Tenille? Well if you are me then it’s just one of those things. But my innocence had to be stolen from me at some point. So at the tender age of 28 my ears got taken advantage of by the most bizarre, most out of place and most awful sounding keyboard solo I have ever heard. I don’t really know what else to say. I am damaged goods now.


When I was having a cross country ski love affair with the forest last winter I had one constant companion, the Woodpecker. Winter was a very hard time for me because my dad’s health was rapidly declining but the forest became my savior. I noticed on one ski in early February that no matter how far I went into the forest I always had a spotted woodpecker nearby. It was comforting. Then I started to notice my little friend around the farm. I would look out the window in the morning and the noble little woodpecker would be climbing the elm tree in the garden. I felt like it was always there. After my dad passed I coped alright for the first month but then things started to get harder. I remember sitting on the deck at the farm one evening looking into the woods just wishing that I could see him again and knowing that I wouldn’t and then the hollow sound of a woodpecker tapping came out of the trees. Now 6 months on when I am having a rough day I always seem to cross paths with the little spotted woodpecker. And you wannna know something? I like to believe that the woodpecker is my dad.

Deer friend, Deer heart

This year I celebrated the big one-oh with my best friend Alison. That's right, we celebrated our 10th anniversary. We met on the first day of university where I do believe I walked up to her (because I thought she was so pretty) and said “I am bored of not talking to anyone”. Good thing it doesn’t take much to impress her because we have been partners in crime ever since. Alison is the world to me. I am so happy that I know her because she makes my life better. I used to cry when I lived in England because I missed her so much. She’ll tell me when my hair is bad and if I’m having a crappy day she always says cute shit like ‘at least your pretty’. She has dropped everything and come to my rescue so many times. She is wonderful. I count my lucky stars every single day because having her in my life is a real gift.

Best 8 Words

Losing my Dad this year destroyed me. I am slowly getting better but I know that this type of healing just takes time. Old Al was gruff and grouchy most of the time and he was a man of few words, but he was a gold mine for one-liners. There is something he said to me years ago that sticks with me to this goddamn day. I was going through a very painful breakup and me and my old dad were sitting on the beach at my cottage and I was telling him about my woes and he sat back and looked at me and said “Kate. A man never forgets a good woman.” Those words were the elixir that I needed. For the first time in months I felt ok. Knowing that my dad considered me to be a good woman meant so much. And that boyfriend that I was mourning is now a dear friend who I can confidently say also considers me to be a good woman.

Wasted Youth
In 11 months I am joining a large demographic. I am turning thirty. I can’t even write the numbers down because it makes me want to throw up. I am beginning to miss my twenties and they aren’t even over. I, Katrine Barnstaple, blissfully coasted through my twenties. I peaked at 26, which is something I have been coming to terms with ever since, but peaking aside this has been one helluva decade. I have had epic love, freedom, adventures and all sorts of trouble. For the first ¾ of my twenties I felt like I owned the world. But something has happened as I geared down towards my thirties...I think I spent too much time having fun in the early years and now I am not nearly as advanced career-wise/life-wise as I anticipated I would be. And now I am approaching the big three-oh and I feel like I am some sort of statistical failure. Piss.

The Yes Please Equation

I was driving around a little while back and I was thinking about my good old fashioned point system I use to rate men. My scale is out of 10. If you have a beard you automatically get 5 points. It’s not fair to the beardless men in the world but I don’t give a shit. Grow a beard and you`ll get 5 points. Now as I was driving around thinking about my 5 point gift to the Beardies I realised that there is one specific beard out there that just kills me and gets 8 automatic points and that is the lesser spotted Ginger Beard. I. LOVE. GINGER. BEARDS. Now....if you look like Kris Kristofferson and have a Ginger Beard then all bets are off and You Sir, are a goddamn Adonis to which I raise my glass and say YES PLEASE.

Rosewood: School of Woodness Goodness
In January I am packing my bags and heading to Perth for three months to study the art and craft of fine woodworking. It’s a pretty bold manoeuvre which will be taking me to a land far far away from here. I am giving up work and leaving myself pretty tight on the old funds for a chunk of time but these are just minor things that I really need not to worry about. To be a student for again and to be taught by some of the finest craftsmen in North America is an incredible opportunity. Watch out world, this girl is about to become a secret woodworking weapon.

Friday, 17 June 2011

High Five

Okay okay okay okay. I can barely contain myself because I feel like I have been holding a secret for a very long time. I am going to be doing a Public Space Installation for the 2012 Come Up To My Room event at the Gladstone Hotel. I think I told 3.5 people that I was applying for it. Truth be told I have never wanted to do anything so badly in my life so I had to keep quiet because I was scared I would curse my chances in getting selected. I am so bad at keeping quiet about things I am excited F-ing bad at it... but my tight lips seemed to pay off. The event doesn't take place until January which is miles away. I have an idea of what I will do...but I kind of enjoy this Tight-Lipped Barnstaple thing I got going. High Five to Me!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


My Dad passed away on Sunday after a year-long battle with cancer. He was one of my very best buds and over the last decade we created a very lovely bond with each other. I feel very lucky to have had such a great man in my life. He taught me so much and always encouraged me to do what I love. And although this is a sad time and my heart feels heavy I am glad that I was able to have such a lovely friendship with such an awesome guy. His earthy spirit is everywhere and that fills me with comfort. I am embarrassed to admit it but I will miss having him always tell me to "Brush my hair" because I "look like shit".

Monday, 23 May 2011


For a while now I have been feeling like sometimes I could use a helping hand when it comes to production. In the winter I stumbled on an advertisement in my Betty and Veronica Double Digest for Moustache Making Pigs. I hoarded my pennies all winter and when I had saved enough I sent away for them. They arrived a few days ago and I put them to work right away. I have to admit I had some reservations...I thought this might have been some Sea Monkeys scheme but I gotta say this actually was the best 4.95 + 9.95 S&H I have ever spent. So from this day forward I have 3 oinkers that will be making my moustaches.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Studio Tour

A little look see into my studio for the Tour this weekend. I wanted to set up a little shop inside my shop and i am happy with how it all turned out. Also I want to thank Rob for waiting a bit longer for his bed so I could use it for this tour. Tomorrow is the last day of the tour so come on by and say hello and have a look at what I make.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

into the woods

The Bedroom in the Forest. It was hard not to curl up out there and spend the night with the Owl. Twiggy chandelier, oak bed and side tables by Lost Nation. GREGORY!! C'est Magique

Friday, 13 May 2011

Behind the Trees

My lovely friend Gregory and I have been kinda-loosely-ish talking about him doing some photography for Lost Nation for what seems like forever. 2 weeks ago we met up for some beer and a much needed catch-up and we talked the talk again but this time something happened. 10 days after that fateful evening of brewskis, Greg arrived at the farm with all his gear and we embarked on a weekend long photo-shoot adventure. Gregory had the amazing idea of setting up a room in the just so happened that I was in the midst of finishing off a I think you know where I am going with this....we set up a bedroom in the forest. Here is a ‘making of’ shot of the magical room we created in the woods.

There are many more photos to come but I just wanted to give you a taster.

Also I wanted to say thank you to Greg for a truly wicked weekend (even though we worked it just felt like fun). Thanks to Mother Nature for the most magnificent weather. Thanks to beer for letting great ideas flow. AND. Thanks to my hands for their continued hard work.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Great Spirit: Pat LePoidevin

On Friday I went to see Pat LePoidevin. I knew that his show was going to be magic but I wasn’t prepared for how deeply I would be moved by his incredible sound. Pat Lepoidevin is a truly gifted musician. His beautiful voice ranges between an eerie falsetto that lingers in the air to a deep low pulse. His songs are all lovely tales that seem to have an ancient memory attached to them, like old recipes that have been handed down through generations. I feel like the Spirit of this Great Land has chosen him to channel its stories.

Watching his hand work on his guitar and how effortlessly his fingers move as they change notes is like watching a beautifully choreographed dance. His live show is phenomenal because you see how he builds his songs from the bare bones using a just looper pedal. He records a verse and builds upon it-I feel like he weaves with his voice. The sound grows and expands like a fire. His harmonies are stunning and they stirred something so deep inside me I actually had to fight back tears when he sang Mary.

He had the entire crowd transfixed. We were silent. Never have I been to a show where you could hear a pin drop. I am still recovering from the experience. This man has an incredible gift and more people need to know. Please just take a second out of your day to go check him out. You will be blown away. I promise.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

I have your next 5 months planned

Folks. I am opening the dusty, cobwebbed doors of my studio to the public on May 21-22-23. I am participating in the Blue Mountain Tour of the Arts and I think if anyone is itchy to get out of the city and have a wicked day trip then why don't you make this your destination. My studio is not usually an open door kind of place...and I am not always that friendly when people just swing by (this is a well-known fact up here) so please by all means take this rare opportunity to come into my work space and be welcomed with open arms and delicious local baking!

Here is more info on the tour:

Next up. Who doesn't like Muskoka? Well I most certainly do. It is a very beautiful region of this glorious province. I am pleased to announce that Lost Nation will be at the 49th Annual Muskoka Arts and Crafts Summer Show. This show takes place July 15-16-17. I believe that this is when Toronto usually has its annual garbage strike so why not skip town and spend a lovely weekend in cottage country?

And Last...If you are just going to be a homebody and not leave the city then I dare you to go east of Yonge Street. I cross my heart and swear to you that the East end of Toronto is one Helluva place. My next show doesn't happen until September so that gives you loads of time to train going eastbound. I promise you won't get a nosebleed. Lost Nation will be at the Cabbagetown Festival. Art Around the Park is where 32 Artisans set up booths around the park in Riverdale. LOVELY or What?! It's free, it's a great excuse to get out enjoy the sunshine, have a picnic and come and say 'Hello Katie Barnstaple' to which I hope I will say...."are you stalking me?" (but don't actually start stalking me...that would be weird)

I hope to see you soon.

Friday, 4 March 2011

The Review: Winter Edition

Well, well, well. It is with the heaviest heart that I am bidding farewell to wonderful winter. I fell madly in love with the cold and snow this year and I have been dreading having to say my goodbyes since early February. Winter, my little time lover, I will pine for you until we meet again. This here is a review of the white season on some of the lovely things that we discovered and shared.

Music Awards

1. Fleet Foxes: Best Winter Soundtrack
I am pretty sure that these guys were cut from the fabric of the noble icicle and the tender snowflake. All winter they have enchanted me over and over again. They make the cold seem so far away even though it isn't. They keep me warm.

2. Pat LePoidevin: So nice. So so so so nice. Perhaps the nicest nice around
I think I have fallen in love. If I disappear in the near future it is probably because I have gone to New Brunswick to live happily ever after with this fellow.

3. The Head and the Heart: Best songs to get stuck in your head (and heart)
In highschool I always had ABBA stuck in my head. It was on a loop for close to 3 years. I hated it. In the last few weeks these guys have been bumping around in the Ol' Think Can and I gotta say I find them beyond delightful. They are welcome to remain stuck in my head throughout the springtime.

Gimme your eyes

Some of the winter-scapes I have come across this year have been so stunning that I wish that everyone I love could be able to see them. It makes me want to borrow their eyes. I have spent countless hours on Grey Road 2 this winter driving between home and work. This old road knows how to showcase winter. I have almost driven off the road, done U-turns and even stopped the car trying to take everything in. I think what makes the road so incredibly special is it goes up 1000ft from Georgian Bay to the top of the Blue Mountain Ridge. You can see for miles and miles over sprawling farmland, forests, valleys and way way out across the Bay. It seems like at every bend in the road or at the top or bottom of a hill there is endless beauty. Words will never do it justice. Over and over again this winter Grey Road 2 has made me feel very lucky to be alive.

The Free Spirit The free spirit belongs to my neighbour’s dog Sophie. I call her wolf-child because that is what she is to me. She has the eyes of a wolf and the body of a dog and I think that she is a mixture of both on the inside. She is a wild and independent soul. She always sneaks up on me, whether I am walking the dogs or going on a cross country ski. She literally emerges from the forest and does her beautiful wolf-child work for a while before she disappears into the trees again. I love watching how she runs and observes the world. She is so different to my dog. She is free and nothing ties her down. I want to have her spirit. Spending time with her always brightens my day and enriches my soul. She is an incredible lady.

End of an Era

Underneath that there snow lies a truck. That trucks name is Big Blue. She was the first vehicle I ever drove. I was 15 and barefoot. I started off in the parking lot of the Home Hardware in Combermere and when I got onto the main road I almost ran over a chipmunk.

Big Blue is just about as nice as they come...honest. She has been around since I was a little angel faced girly. I have so many wonderful memories of lovely times with Blue. She is just like the family pet. She has been part of my childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. I think she feels so precious to me because I when I began to stake out my independence from my family I feel like Big Blue was there with me, kinda like my partner in crime. She even moved me into my first apartment. Old Blue hasn't run for 2 years but the whole family has been in denial. She is so special to everyone. We have just let her rust away in the driveway at the farm. Sadly, there is only so much rusting away a beautiful truck can do. This week Big Blue got taken away for scrap. I cried when I said my good-byes. It seriously feels like the end of an era. I can't deny that it sort of feels like I have lost an dear old friend. I will always keep the memories I have with Blue close to my heart. Bon Voyage Big Blue

The Forehead Equation

It is hard to believe when you look at this complicated equation that I got 36% in grade 11 math. Allow me to break this puppy down for those of you who didn't have to repeat math 4 times. I have a forehead, my forehead has eyebrows and I have a sister. Years ago my sister compares my eyebrows to Burt Reynolds because I tell her she hasn't got eyebrows (we were young jerks-what can I say?) I develop an eyebrow complex. I get bangs cut and I hide my forehead for 9.5 years. Seriously, I haven't worn my hair off my forehead for 9.5 years because I think that I have Burt Reynolds' F-ing eyebrows!

Sooooooooooooooooooooooooo long story short. I was having an epically bad hair day a few days ago and I just swooped my bangs off my face and went about my business. I realised at some point during the day that my forehead hasn't seen daylight for damn near a decade. I also realise that I don't have Burt's eyebrows and now I am happy that I can wear my hair in a new way. Truth be told I am getting kinda sick of looking like a mop-top with just a mouth and nose. I will admit that it does feels a bit scary to show so much skin but i think I am getting used to it.

My Mistress

Okay so I kind of fell in love with cross country skiing this winter. I was ambushed by my friends Greg and Oksana with the fine plan to go for a little ski in the Kolapore on the most frigid day this January. I was excited about the activity but quickly realised -10 minutes into the ski- that I wasn't a nimble as I thought. In fact when we finished our ski I could barely move. I was actually floored at how bad a shape I was in. At the end of our ski I thought "thank God that is over, never again shall I do such a torturous activity" but within a few hours I was craving it. The next day I wasn't even sore! I can't even believe this but I go almost every morning for a ski. I love it. It feels like meditation and fitness and relaxation all rolled into one. It is because of skiing that I don't want winter to be over. I think I have the whole world against me on this. I just am so in love.