Archives for posts with tag: aboriginal crafts


The magic of writing a memoir is like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, only in reverse. That’s my new theory. When my mother posed for this picture in 1928, just after marrying, coming to Canada and starting life on an Indian reserve, she had no idea I’d write a book from her love letters and adventures some day.

Imagine my joy at receiving these emails from two of the first avid readers of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride in its paperback edition. They’re from Catherine and Fred Dunlop, my second cousins who have a beautiful farm and family.

Here’s what Catherine says about the book, so eloquently:

“Margaret – I have just finished reading this wonderful book and I still have tears in my eyes, it is so well written. Mental images appear with the flow of your words and they transport me, it seems, right into that setting.
I am not a writer, but I am a voracious reader and I so enjoy how you can make a scene come to life with just descriptive passages. I laughed, I shook my head in disbelief many times and, as I said, cried when I had finished. I cannot say enough about this wonderful gift of love to your parents. I am going to order several today. I want to put one in our local library and I also want to give each of our children a copy. Uncle Jack baptized all three of our children.
I often called Uncle Jack ‘the oldest teenager I know’ and he seemed to enjoy that. We also had many discussions around theology topics. He was a man thinking unlike many of the ministers of his time. Aunt Kay was always so quiet and reserved but, once, she and I were talking out in my kitchen as I was cutting meat and she seemed vitally interested in my life, asking me questions about how I was coping with motherhood and a busy husband. Her way of saying “I know exactly what you are going through”?
Anyway, thank you for writing this story, THEIR story, so beautifully.


And here’s what Fred, who sent the photos, had to say:

“Good morning Margaret – we found this picture of your parents in a family trunk that mom had put away. The picture is in a frame made of rabbit skin. Mom has written on the back of the picture Rev Kell, Aunt Kathleen, Oxford House. Manitoba, 1925 (about)

Some people just have all the luck when it comes to parents and cousins, so I have a grateful heart I wanted to share with you.

Thank you for dropping by. This blog for all lovers of life and language aims to be useful and entertain. To order a copy of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride, please click here.

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!


Step 1: Make the stems for the bow and stern, cutting them lengthwise. Soak them for a week (in an eaves trough), replace the cold water with hot water, take the stems out and bend them.

Step 2: Make hull out of  two 4″ x 8′ sheets of 1/8″ marine plywood, cut them and glue them along a somewhat diagonal lap joint, attach stems and make gunwales Two very young daughters can steady it all.

Step 3: Add seats and one rib in the middle to shape the gunwales and fix the cross-section. Slit ‘darts’ along the top of the hull and drill holes, then lace the hull to the gunwales and pull the hull in.

Step 4: Fit the ‘darts’, abut them, and sew them closed with nylon string.

Step 5: Seal the darts and holes with fiberglass and polyester.

Step 6: Cover sewn canoe with fiberglass on the outside. Add thwarts, drill and lace seats.

Step 7: Add a ‘cap’ on top of the inside and outside gunwales. Fasten it with wooden pegs driven into drilled holes.

Step 8: Get your son to try the canoe.

The campus love story and need for a down payment that preceded this project are written up in last week’s blog.

Thank you for dropping by. This blog for all lovers of life and language aims to be useful and entertain. Topics vary from how to build a canoe to how my mom moved from “prince to preacher and fog to bog” as a war bride after world war one. Writing advice is squeezed in between. Find out more about A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void,  Kathleen’s Cariole Ride and Eating at Church on Amazon,  Goodreads or my website.

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!