Sunday, October 26, 2008

And a River Ran Through It

My little cabin is on the north fork of the Stillaguamish River. The Stilly is what I see looking out the front windows of the cabin. You can hear it passing by when you are outside. Since my property is what is called "high bank", I can't just walk right out to the river bank, but I do overlook it from all of my 15 acres. The Stilly is what gives my piece of the woods its character. I can honestly say a river runs through it.
Yesterday was a gorgeous, Pacific Northwest October Saturday, and Nonie and I decided that it would be lovely to take a drive east towards Darrington, to see what we could see. What we saw was autumn along the Stillaguamish. When you head east on Highway 530 from Arlington, the Stilly is on your left (north) side the whole way. Here and there you get little peeks at it while you drive, in other places the view opens up and you see the river flowing through the the wide valley. All along the way the trees are turning a most delicious spectrum of color, mostly golds, and the blue sky just set everything off perfectly. We saw snug little farms tucked up alongside the hills and we saw tall, tall stands of evergreens, and through it all the Stilly threaded its way west toward Puget Sound. We stopped at a prime fishing hole about 10-12 miles west of Darrington and took a walk along the river. There were several fshermen trying for a salmon but while we didn't see any fish caught, we did see some very happy men enjoying a gorgeous day practicing the high art of fly casting in the most beautiful setting I can imagine. (Sorry, Norman Maclean, I think the north fork of the Stilly is as beautiful, if not more so, than the Big Blackfoot River and I have had the honor to walk the riverbanks of both.) For me, Norman Maclean said it best:
"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.
The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the
basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under
rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

"I am haunted by

----A River Runs Thought It, by Norman Maclean

Monday, October 20, 2008

Home Again, Home Again

Today I had to say good bye to Annie, Chris, Ian and Alex and also to sunny Southern California. I won't see them again until just after Christmas. I had such a wonderful visit and can't really believe that the ten days have come and gone. Whooooosh! Now I am home again. I miss my little house when I'm gone. I miss my DH and my Orcie and even poor ol' Toes. I miss my own bed! I have been traveling so much since August that I am (almost) traveled out. That's unheard of for me to say, but it's true. I have a rotten cold (thanks, Ian!) and it feels good to be home and to know that I'll be here for a good, long while. By the time I start my traveling again, I'll be foaming at the mouth to get out of "Dodge," but for now I am more than content to just be home. It was rather a shock to go from warm and sunny in Southern California (and beautiful vistas all the way to mid Oregon were spread out below me on the flight home) to the rain and wind of Seattle and environs today. It absolutely poured as the shuttle drove into my little town of Edmonds and I got a good soaking just rushing from the shuttle van to my front door, a distance of maybe thirty feet! But inside all was cosy, warm and dry.
I found a lovely packet waiting for me from my ZNE buddy Tiffany. It was chock a block with ledger papers that she had sent as a gift. I have about sixty ideas of how to use these wonderful old papers and can't wait to get started! Thanks, Tiffany, you are most generous and it was lovely to come home to presents.
Autumn has arrived while I've been gone and it was dark so much earlier than it was just ten days ago. Most of the leaves have turned and the color was lovely to see, from both the air and from the drive home. I plugged in my branches with the little grain of rice bulbs that I found at Michael's a while back that I have arranged in Grandma's crystal vase in the dining room, and immediately it felt snug and homey. Nothing like some twinkle lights to brighten a dark, wet evening!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Brown Eyed Boy

Now it's time to show off my all-time favorite, best and most wonderful grandson, Ian. Is he not just the cutest thing you have ever seen? Come on! This is a totally unbiased affirmation of Ian's gorgeous cuteness! Really.Okay. Maybe I am a tad biased. But still, he IS an adorable little guy, is he not? And since I am so very honest and unbiased, I will freely admit that he is a goofball. A big goofball! Ian has brought back to me that all babies of a certain age have all their sensory equipment stored on their tongues, hence each and every object of interest must be inserted into mouth to identify, process and store the data. (Getting it all wet and slobbery is just a bonus side effect!)

Please note that Ian is the only descendant of mine with brown eyes. I yearned, nay---I pined for a brown eyed baby but all three of mine were difficult and insisted on varying shades of gray to blue. Of my FIVE grand babies, Ian is the only one who heard my plea. His eyes are a lovely shade of warm brown, a much richer and rare color of brown than mine. And he has dimples!

Lest you fear, Dear Reader, that all I have been doing this week is gush and gloat over my wonderful grandchildren, let me assure you I have done a little art. I finished my Photojournal Photobooth cards so I will mail them off to Catherine when I return to Edmonds, and I have almost finished my work in the last of the Sensual Journal round robin exchange I have been lucky enough to be a part of this past year. Just a little more work to do and I will be able to mail the journal off to its rightful owner.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Making Baby a Blankie---with Snuzz

Once upon a time, a very smart and beautiful little girl named Alex become a very good mommy to her Baby. (I gave her the baby a couple of Christmases ago and once Baby was undressed and naked, she was ignored for a long, long time...but now Baby is being played with--- a lot!) For her birthday, Alex was gifted many Baby accessories and Baby clothes, and Baby feeding equipment and everything Baby. Except for one, most important item.....Baby didn't have a Blankie. Can you imagine such a thing? No, Dear Reader, nor could I. It seemed just tragic that Baby was making her way in the world without a Blankie. Because, if you don't have a Blankie, then you don't have a Snuzz! Alex would tell you that life without a Snuzz is not worth living, so I decided that I would remedy the situation and make Baby a Blankie and by doing so, ingratiate myself into my granddaughter's good graces. (Wicked, tricky mind of mine!)

Yesterday, after naptime, we took a ride to Encinitas to a fabric store where Alex hunted for the perfect Blankie material for Baby. She decided on a plain pink polar fleece after some quiet consultation with Baby, which both her Mommy and her Gramma approved of whole-heartedly. To make Blankie a little fancier and nicer for Baby, we purchased some soft satin ribbon to use as a blanket binding. Gramma added a tiny bit of yellow ribbon to our pile of items, which will be explained later. Embroidery needles and some white embroidery floss rounded out our purchase.

When we got back home we measured Baby to get the proper size for Blankie and then Gramma got to work. I do not claim to be much of a sewer, but I did manage to attach the satin ribbon to the edges of the Blankie (with minimum bleeding on my part, too, always a good thing) although I did not use a blanket stitch because I could not figure out how to do one as it has been years and years and years since I had to use that stitch. I added a tiny little "tag" made from that bit of yellow ribbon mentioned above, to delineate the Yellow Snuzz Corner (as readers of this blog may remember is the most important corner of any Blankie worth its snuggle). I then added Baby's name (er, well, "Baby") in the corner as Alex has her name in the corner of her Blankie. Yellow Snuzz Corners and Names in Corners of Blankies being of paramount importance, don't you know.....

Even for a poor seamstress like myself, it didn't take too long to cobble together this Blankie for Baby. Once I had it finished (and had accounted for all the needles in the package as I was terrified I'd lose one on the floor where Ian would, of course, immediately find it and try to eat it or stab himself in the eye with it or some other horrible thing), I took the Blankie upstairs to Alex, who was in her room happily listening to music and "reading" books. (She is certainly a self-starter, that child!) I handed over Blankie and she waved it around in the air and then immediately tossed it to the floor and headed off to do something else. My heart sank, I will admit.

So Alex had a bath and washed her tummy and washed her feet and dried off all by ourselves, thank you very much, donned her favorite green footed 'jammies, brushed her teeth and then headed to bed. That's when the new Blankie for Baby became Very Important indeed. Alex had to gather it up off the floor, find Baby (who was hiding downstairs on the couch) and then make up Baby's bed and tuck her in. Which she did and did very well. Alex then popped into bed and told me how much she liked Baby's new Blankie and gave me a huge Alex grin and a hug. And Gramma's heart soared.

The End.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Alberta Street

While I was in Portland for Art & Soul (separate post coming soon), I took Saturday off from classes and spent a pleasant day roaming the Alberta Street neighborhood with Nonie. The art supply shop Collage has a shop at Art & Soul that they assemble in the middle of the Embassy Suites that is a God send for most of us who seem to forget the very supplies that are most necessary for whatever class we happen to have signed on for. Their main shop is on Alberta Street and no Art & Soul would be complete without a visit to see what wonders are to be found. (Fred Mullet gyotaku stamps this time, for example!) Collage is a magnet for the artist who just has to have more, more, more. Nonie and I had coffee at a fun and funky coffee shop, we walked for blocks browsing in small and fun little shops and had a great lunch at a friendly little cafe. The weather was alternating between rain showers and blustery sun. Just when you thought it had settled into one pattern, it changed to another. It did make walking interesting!
Alberta Street is a mass of color and little odd details that makes for a wonderful photo walk. I had a great time.

When Nonie and I saw this pair of sneakers hanging from the overhead wire it was all we could do to make ourselves not break out into a chorus of Born to Run.

And, finally, even the manhole covers were interesting and artistic!