Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Leaving for Nantucket

rose covered cottage in 'Sconset
I am on my way to Nantucket as you read this, Dear Reader.  It's my annual pilgrimage east, to the home of my best friend.  There will be historical architecture---everywhere you look, whaling lore, gorgeous flowers, yummy seafood, hydrangeas by the thousands, and laughter, hugs and catching up.
And Ted, my favorite large dog in all the world.  (Forgive me Timmy, but Ted is my east coast best doggie buddy.  You are my most favorite west coast doggie buddy!)

glorious window box
 Everything will have the tang of salt air.

Bee at Smith's Point
My friend will open my eyes wide again, with her insights and her world vision and her perception.  She sees beauty everywhere, and makes it all visible to me, too, while I am with her.  I try to keep my eyes wide all year, but I don't quite manage.  So I am going for my tune up, my re-setting and recalibration.  Things will be brighter while I'm with her, more colorful, more subtle.  Just more.

Lowie on Coatue
And her DH, the bluefish fisherman, par excellance.  He's funny, talented, creative, well read, thoughtful, kind, goofy and my dear, dear friend, too.  Even his puns are dear to me...sort of.

There will be time to sit and chat....

...and time to walk sandy roads.  And the most lovely thing about being on Nantucket?

All roads lead to the beach.

So forgive my silence.  I'll be back at the end of the month for a few days before I head off on another wonderful adventure, this time with all my family.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Jam for Lowie

I am leaving for my annual visit to my best friend and her husband on Tuesday.  I traditionally take raspberry jam to Lowie.  I consider it me paying my "rent" to them for letting me inflict myself each year.

Lowie is very fond of raspberry jam, so that's what I make him.  This year I was worried because our local raspberries were late, and making the jam for my "rent" payment two days before departure is cutting it a close.....

Finally, at the Saturday Market yesterday, local raspberries were available, in all their red, succulent deliciousness.

So I mashed.....

....and I stirred.....

...and I stirred some more.

And then I poured the molten, thick jam into jars.

I made enough for Lowie to have a nice gift and I made some more for DH and me to have for the next year.  There may even be a few jars that will reach other friends as small tokens of my esteem.

Summer in a jar.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Crazy Covers for Pattern Books

I am in the midst of taking Mary Ann Moss' online class, SEWN.  It is so much fun.  In the first place, I have been able---NO, not just able, but encouraged strongly!---to make a mess!  To play!  Just have fun.

Boy, can I make a mess.

First I got to sit and paint patterns.  Whatever I wanted.  However I wanted.  And I did and oh, did I have fun.  The next thing asked of me was to pick out a shape that I wanted to use to cover the cover of a pattern book with, and then cut out a lot of the chosen shapes to sew onto a cover.  I used up a bunch of watercolor scraps and some other random paper I had hanging around, and just put together two little booklets with a pamphlet stitch.

I had scraps of paper here, and glue sticks there, and scissors always across the table from where I was working....remember the big mess?  It got bigger.

But when I got done, and I had sewed all the cut-out shapes onto the booklet covers, I ended up with some fine, fun little numbers in which I will paint more patterns!

My sewing skills are very lacking and I am very much a guerrilla seamstress, as Mary Ann puts it.  It might not be pretty, but it gets the job done.  And there is no pressure, which of course = fun!

I am now going to go clean up my mess.  And then, paint some more patterns.

Did I mention how much fun all this is?

Sunday, July 07, 2013

More Patterns

Since I have started painting my own patterns for the SEWN online class I am currently taking, I am finding I spot patterns everywhere.  During the 4th of July parade in my little town, I spied stripes and fields of stars (naturally), but there were other patterns, too.

The tartan plaid of the Bagpipe and Drum corp that marched in the parade leaped out at me.  By the way, why is it that for any American parade worth it's salt, a bagpipe and drum band is a requirement? Our local 4th of July parade just wouldn't be the same with out this band.

And then, too, you begin to notice patterns that aren't just visual.  There are the patterns, the components, that make up high summer in Edmonds (or any season, for that matter), and the Saturday Market is certainly one of the main summer seasonal components to me.

I went up to my cabin early on the 5th to do some heavy cleaning and maintenance.  I noticed the patterns of sunlight on the daisy meadow and the pattern of light and shade the big vane maple leaves make in the early morning with the sun streaming through them.

 And here are some of the patterns I have been painting for Mary Ann's class.  I have had such a good time just sitting and randomly painting any old idea that comes into my mind.  I find I get more fun from of the complicated ones when I'm actually painting, but visually I rather like the more simple patterns.  Funny.

This mess below is the as yet unfinished feather pattern.  I have no idea where it's going, how it will turn out, and if I even like it.  It is, however, great fun to paint!  And that's really all I care about, the fun part.  I'll figure out the rest as I go along---as long as it's fun!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

July 3rd

Besides getting ready for tomorrow, including locating all my flags and putting out my chairs for the parades that are a special part of Independence Day in Edmonds, I've been working on a journal to take to my friend as a hostess gift when i visit her in a couple of weeks.

This journal is a sort of merging of methods used by Mary Ann Moss in her Ticket to Venice class and what I have learned from several classes from D. J. Pettitt.  It's a little more D. J. but I used many techniques I learned from Mary Ann, so I must say, it was a melding of the teachings of two great ladies.

My friend likes quiet, natural things.  Earthy things.  Water-y things. Subtle things.  Nothing with glitter or bling or lots of COLOR.  I am a little more showy than she, so picking the fabrics and paper color for this journal was a good exercise in restraint.  Very wabi sabi....

I had quite a few small pieces of Japanese fabrics in my stash and I thought that the soft browns in quiet patterns would make good connectors for the pages.  I used a strip of fabric on each side of the middle between the two sheets of paper that made up a two page spread.

 My little inexpensive sewing machine was used for all the construction and it worked very well.  The  only complaint I have about the machine is that it is horribly hard for me to thread.  Having very poor vision, it's a challenge.  Thank goodness for needle threaders!

I had cut the paper to size and then distressed it with gesso and soft washes of watered down acrylic paints, to make them more textural and interesting.

I used a lovely old linen fabric for the covers.

I decided that the three signatures would each have a different fabric showing through the open spine.  I used deer antler buttons, trying to stay with that earthy, quiet and natural style that my friend loves (and does so well in her artwork).

The inside covers are covered with some gorgeous silk fabric I had in my stash.  The contrast between the slubs in the silk and the linen on the cover appealed to me.

This photo shows the pocket I attached to the back inside cover.

I am very happy with how this turned out and I think my friend will like it.  I know she will appreciate the fact that I made it for her.

 I also tried a very weird recipe.  Wait for it.....pickled grapes.  These little sour pops are supposed to be very good with cheese and the original recipe came from on of my favorite food bloggers, Molly Wisenberg, so I am about 99% sure it will be delicious.  The actual recipe I found on the Smitten Kitchen blog.

I'll let you know how they turn out.  I can say that they are very pretty in their jars with the sunlight shining through them!

I am trying to get all my chores done, my house clean and ready for the big parade and a day spent with my friend Denise tomorrow.  Then I am going to sit down with the videos from Mary Ann Moss' SEWN class and start playing.  Oh.  And go to my cabin.  There is that!