Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sampling of work

Here, as promised, I've included a few picks of the machine embroidery samples from the class I took at the Gail Harker Creative Studies Center this past August. There's the workbook and just a few of the samples that were created for the study. All of the fabrics used in the samples were hand-dyed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fabric arts as a passion

The weather has changed. Temps are cooler and my focus is now switching to my indoor passion which is fabric art. This summer I took a prerequisite class at the Gail Harker Creative Studies School in Oak Harbor, WA (on Whidbey Island). The class was titled "Experimental Machine Embroidery" and it touched on everything from how to work the tensions on your sewing machine, to dying your own fabric and experimenting with free-motion stitching. Fun stuff!

I came home very excited about the class. The possibilities are limitless! I also came home with samples and notes from the class that will forever be a resource for me. Gail Harker is an accomplished author and graduate and teacher of City & Guilds of London. She is a wonderful teacher; urging you on to your fullest capabilities.

The homework involved includes finishing the sixteen (or so) sample's edges and mounting each in an attractive mat along with the notes/documentation I made in class. These will all go in a notebook. In addition she has asked each of us to create 3 new samples on newly dyed fabric in a different color scheme.

Right now, I am working on my ideas for those 3 new samples. I will be using the analogous colors in the violet/red/orange range. Tomorrow I will do the dying in my kitchen. Hope I don't make a huge mess. What I really need is a separate studio to do the dying in. I'll write that on my Christmas wish list right now...

I will take a few pictures in the coming days of the samples I have created before I send the notebook off to be evaluated by Gail Harker. Watch for them.

Sometimes have to pinch myself to realize that I am actually--finally--working on what I am passionate about. The next class I want to attend is the Level 2 Creative Machine Embroidery which is a 2-year course of study under Gail. I'm saving my pennies... maybe a good fairy will come along and wave the magic wand...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fall is in the air...

Hello again. It's been quite a long time since I've entered anything new. I think summer happened... Now we're coming into my favorite season of the year "autumn" (with spring a close second). There's a distinct change in air--temp is crisp and it reminds me of going back to school each fall. I can just smell it. Just returned from a visit to my sister's home in Lake Tahoe, California. Had beautiful weather and the nights got very cool. Mornings were fresh and clean. A few wind gusts brought down light sprinklings of leaves. Did I say I love this time of year?

The pumpkins in my garden are turning orange and the maples are changing. The school buses arrive and depart on schedule, "picture day" comes soon. Football season begins--go Seahawks!

I sometimes wonder why autumn is my favorite. Maybe I'm just ready for a change after the long summer months. It is autumn that brings on the gusty winds and thirst quenching rains. It is autumn that uses my favorite colors to paint the landscape. It is autumn that urges me to find that cozy spot to read on a rainy day. Did I say I love this time of the year?

This photo was taken on the deck last year. The leaves fell from our bonsai maple and I could not resist the gorgeous color.

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." Albert Camus

Monday, June 15, 2009

Worms and tea

Something fun... I just figured out that you could double-click on the photos for a larger view. So if you go back an entry or two, you can double-click on the mushroom picture and get a great zoom view of the tiny little slug.

I haven't blogged for awhile but will try to be more faithful. My daughter reminded me that I should also blog about a few of the other interesting things in my life, such as: tending my new worm composting unit. I agreed with her and realized that was a great place to start.

We purchased the composting components back in April/May at the Pacific Northwest Garden Show (sadly the last one in Seattle for a while). We brought it home and prepared it for receiving a cast of 1000's. Actually, one pound of worms is approx. 1000 red wigglers. It's an interesting process getting ready for the worms and learning how to feed them the right way. Their environment has to be balanced--not too wet and not too dry. It's got to have a nice earthy smell also. They can't have citrus, onions, meat or dairy. They love strawberries, banana peels and coffee grinds.

Now you might ask why one would want to compost with worms! Well... the worms create two unique by-products: worm castings and worm tea. As the worms process the veget and fruit trimmings (along with newspaper, dryer lint, etc) they leave behind castings which work to enhance your soil in a very organic way. The worm tea comes from liquid draining from the castings. It's used for watering my house plants currently and I will also begin using it on my potted plants outdoors. I already see a very healthy difference in my house plants; they love the worm tea and they love going green.

There you go! An insight into my worm composting endeavor. Just another aspect in my daily doings. There is something very fulfilling about managing these worms and reaping the compost and tea. AND... it's all about recycling isn't it. We should all be doing our part.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pure enjoyment

Wow! Another fantastic day in my world. Temps will reach almost 80 degrees they say. My plans are to get out to the garden again to work. Although, "work" doesn't seem the appropriate word to describe the total sense of well-being I get when communing with nature. Maybe the word(s) to describe what I do in the garden should be "pure enjoyment!"

Some exciting moments are about to happen out there: my oriental poppies are in pod form and about ready to burst open. They are the most amazing bloom I have seen in a gorgeous cool coral/apricot color. My clematis is climbing high on the deck rails and any day now they will be blooming. The first of my bearded iris has bloomed too. Everything seems to be in a getting-ready-to-bloom state. I can relate it to the feeling I get when I am working with fabrics and creating.

I was out taking pictures in the garden yesterday and as soon as I download them I will share them on this blog. Here's one of some ferns with new baby ferns. We have an abundance of ferns here in the NW. Until then...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Things in the garden

And, so, yesterday I mentioned the poem by Robert Louis Stephenson and being on 'the path of right'...

After some thought I've decided that maybe being on this right path is what we all think we are on and maybe only when we relax in the place where we are, can see the sweetness of it all. It's not so much about right path as it is about knowing the path is where we are--good or bad--and we must continue on this path no matter where it leads us.

OK now, enough of that... I was going through some pictures I had taken last fall and found a great closeup (in my eyes anyway) of some tiny mushrooms in my back yard. It wasn't until I got a closer look that I found a very tiny slug--Pacific Northwest kind--in the picture too. Part of me was not happy with the boldness of the slug and the other part of me pleased with the picture reminding me that the world is not perfect and neither are my photos. I love being in my garden, taking pictures of my garden and marveling in creation and it's beauty; beauty even in the sleek and slimy little slugs!

To find the cute little slug, look on the green Creeping Jenny plant, to lower right of center.

Ta-ta for now.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The path of right

Opened my email today and found a wonderful quote from Robert Louis Stephenson:

The best things in life are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.

His words really spoke to me this morning--talking about being in the present moment--this is it. The words 'the path of right just before you' seem to jump out at me as I feel the need to know which 'path' is the right path. Is there such a thing as the 'right path.'

Creativity is central to me--it is my joy. So, what am I waiting for?

Monday, May 25, 2009

To those fallen

Memorial Day. Now that's something to take a moment of silence. To me it's a day when I remember those fallen in past wars. I have one relative from close family who died in the Vietnam War--Randy Rainville. Today, to me, is remembering Randy and all of the others who have given their lives doing what they thought was right for our country. Blessings to them and their families. They were the "great" protectors.

I'm not fond at all of war and my hope is that someday all nations will come to agreement and work together. I've included this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that gives a sense of my feelings:
When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

To garden or not

Today is another beautiful day in the great Pacific Northwest. And as usual, during the summer I love to get out in the garden and commune with Mother Nature. We purchased some new landscaping plants the other day and had actually dug the holes for them. Now it's compost time to enrich the poor earth that will be surrounding them. After that, applying new drip system emitters to concerving water. It really is about conserving, isn't it? And to be even "greener" we will spread mulch around them to hold the water in. Just doing our part...
The garden is calling me. I will communing with nature on this holy day in the week as soon as I can get my garden shoes on!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

So this is it...

Here I am, sitting at my computer on this very bright and sunny Washington morning with the decision to start a blog. Now what...

Encouraged by a few in my family to begin a blog, I've finally given in (this is huge for me) to the urge and this work of journaling (maybe) daily musings on my life as it currently sits--including family, art, textiles, photography, watercolors, my beliefs, nature, "going green", all things French, gardening, life's wonderings and the list goes on. You might then, expect something on any or all of these topics as I begin this new endeavor.

Wow, I am now a blogger! I love reading blogs and at some point will begin to list some of my favorites. Right now though, I am feeling a bit pumped up about just getting started. Questions come... what sort of goal should I set for myself, how often should I blog, how much should I share and more. I think maybe just what inspires me at an given moment. Today, because the sun is shining, I'll share a photo from my collection that speaks to the day... enjoy!