Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A class with India

Hello everyone. I've relatively recently returned from my first solo camping trip to the beautiful Northwest, with a destination of Lopez Island and three magical days at my second workshop with India Flint. We made wayfarers' wonder jackets using bits and pieces of other clothing items which we reassembled to make our unique garments! What fun, and challenging too.  I loved stretching my mind to embrace the concepts of sleeves becoming pockets and shirts being transformed into pinafores.

This is the beginning of my jacket.

And this is how it's been progressing since coming home. I will dye it once construction is done.

It was so much fun to do communal dyeing again:

India is very patient and full of interesting ideas and poems. It was a most congenial group of women who gathered to work in Patsy's beautiful garden studio. Christi did a first rate job of organizing everything so all went smoothly.  Patsy, Christi and India created the most delicious lunches for us.  Oh goodness...that's what it all was: Goodness. Great Goodness.

There also was opportunity to be gastronomically delighted by... guess what...wild mushrooms.  I was a bit nervous but ultimately trusted the experts and found these "shaggy manes" to be delicious!

I visited two friends from the workshop in Seattle on the way home. We watched the eclipse together and opened some more more bundles from the workshop. Magic. 

So now I'm home and have been gathering leaves from our parched environment and have bundled them up and dyed this old shirt.  I used marigolds, eucalyptus, rose leaves and apple leaves in a stainless steel pot, with some iron bits and a little bit of copper.  Some of the marigold petals are still on there.  The cloth is still wet so looks a bit brighter than it will later.  I've never gotten such golden hues before.  I wonder if it could be due to the drought somehow.

Gilly meanwhile has found a pair of pink sunglasses, kind of like mine, except they are more edible!

Next I am going to tell you about a wonderful show I visited on the way to the workshop, so stay tuned. xoxo, ~s. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

The huntress

Gilly caught a possum. Sigh. It was very quickly dispatched, by her. This event was part of the full moon activities in the (very small) back yard. Size makes no difference when the moon is full, and gentle Gilly's instincts rose to the surface. Instead of a picture of the unfortunate possum, here is herself in the bike basket...

We've been looking at shore birds. Walking at the dog park has become problematical due to bigger dogs with not helpful owners, so until I can learn how to deal with the issue there, we're going other places, by bike. One day a drama among the birds and a crab played itself out right before my very eyes and Ah-Ha, thought I, here is the makings of another Very Small Book!  So to start, I've been embroidering an egret.  It is almost finished. Mostly am experimenting with how to go about it. I love doing the millions of tiny stitches, but am I being practical. Do I need to be practical. That is not a proper question because I will probably go for the millions of tiny stitches because they are such a good antidote to all the crazy stuff elsewhere, but I do consider the question. Anyway, here is the egret this far:

And this is how the owl (see last post) turned out:

Also, in trying out ways of dealing with unsettling events, I am making a list of them and putting them on a special cloth. Here is the tick! Ick! 

The list is growing long. Perhaps it should be a daily practice. 

Thank you all for taking a look, and have a good and safe Labor Day weekend whether or not it is a holiday you celebrate. xo, s. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A very short report

Hello everyone. Perhaps, I was thinking, my blogging procrastination was due to feeling I had to have lots to show. So today, just one picture... The owl in progress!
Happy first week in August to you. xo, s. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Hello everyone. The very small book is finished now...I'm still making small changes, but basically it seems OK!

I'm hoping to reorganize and reopen the shop soon and I will put the book in there in case you'd like to have one for your very own (or for someone with small hands). 

Also I've been embroidering t-shirts for the family. Presently am working on an owl but here is a complete goldfinch, the New Jersey state bird...

So far it's been a lovely summer but the water situation is not good...

However, my garden seems to be benefiting from the extra care required to make sure everything stays alive in the midst of experimenting to see how little water is required. I don't yet have pictures to illustrate this.

My town is working on making our small beach more user friendly and have added a lot of sand to it. Gilly and I went on an early morning walk and discovered jelly fish and these odd squiggles...

When the family was here in the early part of July we went to the eastern side of the Sierras for a few days. What majesty! This is Convict Lake, which we walked around.  It looked quite manageable to me at the outset, but the high altitude made it seem a lot longer.  It rained while we were there...bliss!!

One day this sign appeared on our refrigerator door:

We took many hikes but didn't see the bear. Not sad about that. 

Then I visited friends at Sea Ranch. The seals were lounging on the beach...

I had hoped to be posting more regularly, but instead have been procrastinating, so I had better not make any promises about improving my performance, except to say that I MIGHT be back soon. Meanwhile here is Miss Gilly  taking it easy. After all, it IS summer, and I hope you are having a good one. xoxo, s. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The very small book

I've been making small embroidered pieces. Suddenly they became a story!  This is a picture of them all, but not in proper story order:
The story is about an old donkey, and the book will be 16 pages long...all of which will be printed on both sides of one sheet of paper. Each page has a bit of text plus a photo of one of the embroideries. Because I spent years and years exploring photoshop, I put some of those skills to work on this Very Small Book. It has taken quite awhile to figure out how to do this, but we're getting close!  More will be revealed soon. 

Meanwhile, my wonderful tea towel collection has expanded:
On the left a bold plaid by Susan Harvey, and on the right are 2 variations on a pattern by Jean Betts.  I love using hand woven cloths in my kitchen. 

And here is Miss Gilly, showcasing her lovely snout!
And that's all for now, but I will be back soon.  xo, s.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Side trip within larger trip

Hello everyone. Although I'm home now, I wanted to show you this garden that I stumbled on whilst in Portland. The Chinese Classical Garden.

A haven of tranquillity right near the train station. There was a tea room where I had a very delicious tea egg. 
Then a musician appeared playing the Chinese violin. Beautiful clear tones enhancing the peacefulness of the whole experience. 

Some recent work:
This was inspired by the marmalade bush that was still blooming when I got home:

Here is a rearing up donkey with flowers: part of a series that's becoming a Very small book. 

On May Day I went to see the Morris Dancers who were giving thanks to the rising of the sun!

And here is Miss Gilly, with whom I was quite glad to be reunited. 

That's all for now. Today is National Train Day and yesterday was World Donkey Day!  So much to celebrate...Xo, s. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Resuming trip

Hello everyone: my train has just left Milwaukee...this is the Menominee River...we didn't stop long enough to have a look at the station, although we did have a chance to walk about a bit. 

Family visit was grand. There was some face and leg painting. 

I worked a bit on a very small ode to spring...

Spring was glorious:

This was taken in the very early morning. 

It rained!

On Earth Day I was invited to read at grandson's school:

This is where I am right now!
Still in Wisconsin. 

More soon. xoxo, s.