31 December 2011

25 December 2011

Mixed Media Post Card Swap To Start The New Year

Friend Judy H. posted about this swap on her blog and I had to have a look at Musings On Reality's swap. I had to add my name to the list as well. I did one other post card swap like this and it was wonderful to get art cards from all over the world to add to my growing collection! Have a look and consider joining in the fun, The more the merrier - or should I say "the art-ier ?!

Wishing You Love, Laughter and A Bit Of Santa-Magic

As this new day dawns 
I wish you all a Season of Love,
Laughter and a bit of 'Santa-Magic'.  
My wish for everyone is that
the New Year will bring you peace and prosperity and a surfeit of creative energy!

"Clouds appear
 and bring to men 
a chance to rest
 from looking at the moon."
  • Basho

24 December 2011

Local Craft Supply Access Can Be A Wonderful Thing! Plus My Home When I Am Not At Home !

Most of you are aware that I live on a rural island. Going to a crafts store is an all day 'adventure' and the cost of the ferry service is making all but essential trips off island too costly. My friend, Janet, had told me that a new store had opened on island and that I needed to go and check it out. Of course, me being the laggard I can be, it took until yesterday to go and have a gander. I was thrilled to see a varied selection of many crafting essentials. From card making and scrapbooking to knitting, quilting, painting and paper crafts, we now have a pace to call home in our small community - and it is a very joyful thing ! Shop owner, Bonnie Turman, is ready and willing to help you find the tools you're looking for and is open to suggestions about what to add. She is already making plans to expand her shop! She stocks products from Fiskars, Ranger, Red Heart, and many other well know craft companies. Finally we have a local place to get our essentials - I breathed a sigh of relief as I left the shop - with a wee package in my hand I should add!  Thanks Bonnie - I hope you are swamped with business!

As I looked around my office yesterday I thought about what a nice space three of us are able to enjoy. In my most humble opinion we have the loveliest office in the County and, if I can't be home, this is a very decent second choice. Note that you can double click on these photos for a larger view (at least I hope you can!)
This is my work area. You can see that the plants really like the light - although the view itself is droll and uninteresting.
This is the view standing at the far end of my desk looking towards the entry door. We hung one of my quilts my my office mate's desk and it added a nice, warm feeling I think. Those of you who look hard at the picture will notice that there is a "license plate" on my bulletin board. It was a gift and it says "I'm A Princess"....

21 December 2011

Happy Solstice To All ! .... and Walnut Inks From Tsukinenko

Wishing You All The Magic Of The Winter Solstice and The Peace of The Season !


Late in November my friend Lauren and I took a girl's day off island and hit some of the art supply places that  we occasionally miss being able to visit as much as we treasure our remote island life. I had been remarkable resolute with my plan to spend money judiciously - at least I had been prior to this visit to Michael's!

I had seen these Walnut Inks from Tsukinenko before and had passed over them thinking that were in, in all actuality, walnut inks - the sort I am familiar with using with dip pens. This time however, I took a look at the box this set came in and decided to give them a try. This was just my first look at the inks on paper and I can see some real play time int he future. They result in beautiful, rich colors in the warm, earthy tones I love. I'll share some play time soon but if you too have passed over these inks in the past you might consider trying a bottle. This set had, in order of the photo below: Terra -cotta, Eucalyptus, Walnut & Java.

11 December 2011

Computing Disaster Day!

My Xmas gift this year is a doozie - a new Apple I Mac. I had been dreaming about having one for so long! It arrived yesterday and, at the behest of DH, I opened it and got the migration assistant going - so I thought! According to the assistant I had about 14 hours to wait - so when I went to bed I envisioned that all would be well when I woke up.

When I woke up there was "blue bar" progress but it now read that it would take 56 house and 19 minutes. I decided that something had to be wrong and so I called tech support. My neck began to ache as the hours online with tech grew longer. After a couple of trouble shooting hours he thought that we/I was on the right track - and decided that he would call be back later to check on things. I made progress on migrating things onto the new computer with the help of a flash drive. Mail worked, Internet worked - I was beginning to be happy.

When the tech called again though we ran some diagnostic and discovered that there was only one hard drive on the machine - there were supposed to be two - one smaller and one very large.

Bottom line. I have wasted an entire day off fiddling with this beauty only to find that it has to be returned. Maybe I will have a new computer by Xmas - maybe not. It really is a drag - but there are silver linings too. I found a problem with the hard drive of my Mac Book Pro (which could have caused serious problems in the future had we not discovered it). It is now repaired and, by opening my Xmas gift early I gave myself a chance to still have the new one in time for the holiday.  If I had waited to open this until Xmas I would  have spent a very frustrating holiday indeed. So - although it was an irritating day filled with wasted effort in the long run it probably worked out for the best.

One thing I tell you though is that this 27" screen is absolutely stunning. You can have four full sized windows operating at the same time. I had wanted get the smaller screen but the options I wanted were only available on this new monster screen. It's brilliant and beautiful - and I think I will like it very well !

I'm ready for a nap now !

09 December 2011


I've been admiring the winter look on the land this week. The colors, though muted for the season seem so sensuous and rich - a deep gold played against the evergreen or bare white branches against the skyline.

As I was driving home one afternoon this week I noticed the way the sky looked framed by the gentle bare branches of the winter woods. I had to stop and take a picture. It was such a beautiful sight.

Happy weekend to all and to all a good night !

07 December 2011

Machine Embroidered Flowers, Woodlands & Landacapes: The Art of Alison Holt

 * * * * *
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Search Press (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844483457
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.4 x 0.4 inches

This is a cross post from my book blog - I had to share it here to because I love this book so much!

For anyone who loves the work of Annamieke Mein or Jane Hall you're in for a treat with this latest book from Alison Holt.  Lush and beautiful are words that just don't quite describe this book that is part eye-candy and part super well done instruction.
This is a book that is really about the art of 'seeing' and translating what you see into poetry made with thread. The instructional part of the book is very well written, with excellent photographs that illustrate the process very well. Search Press has always, in my opinion, spotted good books and publishes them to their full, beautiful, potential.

I am, indeed, quite excited about this book and I know that it will be a "keeper" for. me. I think that it will have wide appeal since many of the techniques can be translated into hand embroidery if desired. Artists, quilters, embroiderers, textile and fiber artists alike will find something to tickle their imagination in the pages of this beautiful book. I can do nothing but highly recommend this gorgeous publication!
I could go on describing this book - but I do believe that a picture is worth a thousand words and, hopefully, these photos, will tempt you to add this to your own 'keeper" library!

04 December 2011

Knitting Addictions & Flat Santas

A friend gently chided me that I had not posted anything since Thanksgiving. How could all of that tie possibly have streamed ahead while I was not noticing?! I have been thinking about blogging though - gathering ideas for topics that I could write about without having something to show that I have produced - since sometimes I just can't keep up when projects take longer than expected or are in the process of being done yet nothing is completed. I have a LOT of book reviews to catch up with as well as some product reviews of some new toys that I've tried. Soon - very soon.

At any rate - these are what I've been up to and I am seriously addicted. This pattern is called the Holden Shawlette and it free pattern from a gifted designer named Mindy Wilkes -  she offers on Ravelry.
Made using Shaeffer heather yarns in the 'Indira Gandhi' colorway. It results in a slightly larger shawl.
These are the first two shawlettes that I made as gifts and I am now working on numbers 3 and 4! I've looked at lots of patterns both free and to purchase and this is really the nicest I've found. Perfect, I think, for a beginner lace pattern. Directions are both written and charted - and they are easy to follow and well done.
This shawlette is made with the recommended Malabrigo Sock yarn in 'Stone Chat' colorway. I have become seriously addicted to this yarn. It is luxurious, super soft, very 'drapeable' and offers the most lovely colors imaginable. It is, alas, a bit hard to find at the moment for some reason. Knitting Temptations has some available.  Their packaging is unique and pretty and their customer service is second to none

The Arts In The Cards group that I belong too had a voluntary swap for December. Some members really needed a break but some of us decided to Santa up for a "Flat Santa" challenge. I had no idea what that meant until I was told of the popular children's book called Flat Stanley. My Flat Santa is on the left and he is about 8" tall Friend Karen Musgrave made the middle Santa which is totally adorable and Janice Paine Dawes made the articulated limb-ed Flat Santa on the right.

24 November 2011


Today is Thanksgiving in the United States and I am full of thanks for so many things.

There is so much to be Grate-Full for. Not just the 'big' things like comfortable shelter, family, stability, employment, friends, health, heat, food - but for the myriad small things that make up my life. I'm grate-full for my IPhone that lets me be creative even when I am on the go, for the people that support me, and for those that allow me to review their wonderful books or products, for the paints, pigments, stencils stamps etc that fill me art table with inspiration, the cup of tea that warms me, the birds that flock to our feeders and fill me with joy, the soft purr of my cat in the middle of the night, the vintage fountain pens that I use with pleasure and that have been held by so many hands before, the comfort of long time friendship, the sound of my husband coming through the door after work.  You get the idea - there is so very much to give thanks for that it's had to fit in onto a page - or could I even document all of things for which I am thankful?

I took this photo of a local lake this week - as usual while I was on my way to work. I think it rather sums up all that of the simple things that fill me with peace and comfort. I am able to live and work in a place that fills me with peace and joy, a place where everyone knows each other (a double edged sword at times!) and where we have no stoplights, no crushing rush-rush (one visit to the mainland last week reminded of this harsh reality of city life), very little 'keeping up with the Jone' - a place where we stop to let deer cross the road,  where you know you will find a friendly hello from every shop-keeper and where 'being' is more valuable then 'having'.

My wish for everyone is that you will be able to enjoy the comfort of friends and family on this and every other day; that you will rejoice in laughter, love and the small creative, magical moments that make up your life. 

Thanks to you for stopping by to say hello!

12 November 2011

From Felt To Fabric: New techniques In Nuno Felting' by Catherine O'Leary

* * * * *
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Lark Crafts; 1 edition (October 4, 2011)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600596674
  • Dimensions: 9.8 x 8.4 x 0.4 inches 
When I was given the opportunity to review this book Lark I was excited. his book is right up my alley! Nuno felting has had a wide following for many years and this book takes the nuno felting process into a new direction. Catherine O'Leary has produced a beautiful volume - and introduces us to using a variety of fabrics (silks included of course!) on top of felt to create a wide range of fantastic textures, modular units and endless possibilities. I think this book will have wide appeal for all textile artists, felters, clothes mavens, and, most certainly, nuno felters! I love finding a familiar technique used in a fresh, stylish and utterly delightful way!  This is really an excellent book and it should have a place in your permanent textile arts library!
Some wonderful new ways to create fabric from modular 'new' nuno felted units.

Creating a new piece of fabric & cutting out modular units.

Endless possibilites

From haute couture to utilitarian the possibilities presented in this book are myriad.

The usual method of preparing nuno felts - with a twist!

This page shows the some of the best ways to use the new nuno felting for garment construction to emphasize the draping qualities.

11 November 2011

Happy Veteran's Day! In Memory Of My Uncles!

I was closest to my mother's family. My uncles were my heros. My special uncle, Jim, was in the Army ,  Jack was in the Army and garnered several purple hearts and a Silver Star. Billy was in the Air Force and continued his aviation career after leaving the service. They all gave during World War Two. My grandmother carried a life long aversion t o telegrams and telephones. She was so worried about them all. They are all gone now but I al am glad for them every day - proud that they were my uncles.
Here is the oldest, Uncle Jack enjoying a little family time - you can see how young Jim and Billy still were when Uncle Jack joined the services! The other two wonderful people in this photo are my beloved grandmother and grandfather. Hero's all in my heart. I wonder if my mother was taking the photograph!

Let us all remember the sacrifices made on our behalfs.

07 November 2011

New Eco Dyeing Experiment

I couldn't resist some of the Japanese Maple Leaves on the lawn last week. I felt like I wanted to gather them all up and save them for the winter. An unpractical idea of course! I wanted some prints that actually showed the images of the leaves. I used some silk charmeuse for the bottom layer and then placed the leaves down and topped it with a layer of bleached harem cloth - something that I was pretty sure wouldn't take the leaves dye. I used hot processing/ hot immersion technique and was tickled with the results!

The big surprise was the fabulous leaf prints that showed up on the harem cloth. I had used some alum on it and was quite certain that it would not act like the more normal soda that one would normally use for cottons.
The silk charmeuse came out rather lovely although I did make a mistake and printed on the wrong side of the charmeuse. The right side is pretty but the leaves are not as distinct.

Another surprise was the lovely silk chiffon below. I had wanted some small sized leaf prints for a project and figured that, since I had had some nice results with the two swatches above, that I could so the same process. I places leaves on the chiffon and layered it with cheesecloth, bundled and wrapped it carefully and then hot processed/hot immersion-ed it. Surprise !! I got NO leaf prints but a lovely solid, vibrant yellow green. I think I had not soaked the chiffon in the mordant (alum) long enough. At least that's my best guess. I didn't get the leaf prints I had wanted but I did get a lovely piece of fabric that I know I will use for something nice!

I have to admit to finding the endless magic of the process to be invigorating, mysterious and utterly addictive!

04 November 2011

Nature Made Going To Work A Beautiful Thing This Week!

The people who know me well know that getting up in the morning is not on my "favorite things to do" list. I've had this difficulty since I was a youngster so it is unlikely to change! I do love mornings once I am up however. This week the drive to work just truly made my day and made getting up in the morning a special treat. I've been doing some photographic experimenting in how to angle the camera and still be able to obtain a decent photo through my windshield glass. In photography school we were taught that a photo can, in fact, be taken through glass, if an angle is used to minimize the reflective qualities of glass. This simple trick has enabled me to take these photos through the windshield of my car this week. Of course, being in a car traveling 45 MPH adds an extra unknown quality- but sometimes - like this week - its worth it to risk taking a photo in the hope that at least one photo will be good enough to capture the feel and quality of moment.

When I saw the trees shining in the distance (top photo) I knew that there would be a spectacular sight waiting for over the hill. I did slow down a bit because I was determined to capture this amazing sight.  I'd be willing to bet that the person in the truck behind me was probably getting edgy about my slower speed. Oh My! As I turned the hill I saw this dazzling image (below). It was like the trees had been painted with a brilliant, golden light. My jaw was dragging the floor I'm sure!

My theme this week was, quite obviously, "sunrise". The photos below were all taken this week at about 8:00 Pacific Daylight Time. I am going to be soooo bummed this Sunday when we turn the clocks back. I never much like it - but the season of "dark squared" is just a part of life these days.
A fog bank was hugging into the valleys this morning and the sky was filled with color.
I think one was taken on Tuesday morning.

Another color filled way to begin the day

More fog banks. Not my favorite thing when I want to fly - or get on the ferry - but fog banks are one of my favorite things to look at.

By mid day the skies were clear and filled with glittering, colorful cloud formations.

This week, these gifts of nature really did make getting up to go to work a pleasure.

All Aglow

The sunrises this week have made getting up to go to work worthwhile! Today's gift from nature was truly awe inspiring!

You should be able to double click for a larger image. I'm experimenting with mobile posting. Tell me how it is!

- Posted using BlogPress from my IPhone!

Location:San Juan Island Wa

31 October 2011

Eco Dyeing: A Small Success Can Become Fuel For Further Experiments

A piece of white vintage kimono bundled, steamed and dried. Oh! lala..those glorious colors!
You never know when a chance bit of information can your current direction on it's ear. When my friend Janet and I went to Tacoma, Washington for the Association of Pacific West Quilters she was reading this book by master eco dyer India Flint. Janet had mentioned the process to me when she returned from her silk studies class in Japan but I'm not sure how much I understood.  The book made the process a bit more clear to me and I had to buy the books. If you've never read any of India Flints work - you should. She a casual, slightly humorous style that is fun to read and the dyeing information she relates is really fascinating...another whole dyeing concept. It made me wish for some local eucalyptus leaves to play with! India Flint's blog is a treat as well.
I think is India Flint's first book - it is, at least my first of her books and I love it

I do have to admit to quite a being discouraged by the results I had gotten with my experiments  before today. The colors I got tended towards muck and the leaf imprints were iffy at best. I considered returning to 'comfort zone' of regular dyeing and leaf imprints with inks and paints. 

Today I decided to just change it up a bit and give it one more try before I was hopelessly lost. I began with a base of newspaper upon which I laid a piece of white vintage kimono silk with a love watery looking pattern. On top of that I layered some leaves we had collected from Shaw Island (with discouraging result in two earlier experiments). I placed a layer of crisp silk chiffon on top of that and then carefully rolled the fabric layers up into a small bundle. The newspaper got deep sixed having completed it's position as a supportive player. I carefully tied the bundle with string and put in a ceramic Corning Ware pot (now relegated for dyes). I decided, just for the heck of it, to add a smidgen of Iron in the water bath. The bundled simmered on the stove top for about an hour and then the bowl was placed on top of our stove (gas) to cool down. Next I took the bundle out and blocked out as much water as I could and set the bundle on top of out stove top water supply.
Another look at the vintage kimono silk. The pattern really worked with the colors. What a surprise!
As it came time time unwrap the bundle I was honestly not expecting much success. I hat no reason to hope for anything more than more muck. Surprise ! I was thrilled with the results I got. Depth of colors grey, green, lavender, yellow, brown. Yum!

With such vivid success on the kimono silk I was really not holding out much hope for the silk chiffon. Once again though I was left some what amazed at the rich, earthy colors and the distinct outline of the leaf prints! Finally! I am so stoked by these results that I am, once again, charged to try a bevy of more blossoms and leaves. Any one have some eucalyptus they can send? I'm ready for more eco dyeing awe ! Glad that I decided to give it one more try!
Check it out ! Yahoo!
An area with a bit more saturation and a bit more blue and grey
Here are the mystery leaves we picked on Shaw Island. They were red and lovely and, obviously very rich in tannin . Does anyone know what this tree might be. I can ask a friend who goes to the community center over there more often to check for me.