Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

Hello everyone!

Well, tomorrow is Christmas, and Gilly and I go off to the farm to see our friends.  We were there on Thanksgiving also...when we go, the cats are excused from participating and spend the time, perhaps reluctantly, in a separate room.  Gilly is very curious about them...this time she jumped up into their sculpture and then as you see below, wanted to ascend to greater heights.  She is wearing her stability outfit, which didn't seem to help calm her down very much, so we've been working on her serenity a lot and have made some progress which will undergo a test tomorrow.

Another event was the coming down of a famous tree on my skyline.  A lovely pine that died.  I won't show you the entire was very methodical and there was a lot of grinding up of took two days.  I think the tree had a good life, and better it be taken down than allowed to fall down, but I miss it.

We've had LOTS of rain!!!  One early morning we went for a walk and decided not to go very far due to the great windiness that assailed us at the corner:

Then the power went out, so I drove down to the coffee shop and embroidered there for a couple of hours...that was rather fun, and I've decided to do that (publicly embroider) more often.

One of my very favorite things was ordering and receiving these wonderful tea towels from Jean:
Look at those patterns!!! I am keeping the one on the left and using the others for Christmas gifts. They are very absorbent and happiness producing.

We had a little solstice/art party here on Sunday...the second annual...quite a lot of work, but quite satisfying...this year it was 4 hours instead of 5...a friend and her daughter made beautiful food so I didn't have to worry about that...(phew!)  Now I'm looking forward to getting back to embroidering etc. etc...I will show you more of that in the next post.  Meanwhile, in closing, here is the very small, rather oddly shaped Christmas tree with its 3-D felt star on top.

I wish for you a kindly holiday season, with the best of everything, relaxation, light, laughter, good company and good food.  Love to each of you and thank you so much for stopping means a great deal to me.  xoxo, s.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Hello everyone!  We have had some rain!  Here is proof.  A glorious delicious wet soggy puddle!

The persimmons were very large this year, perhaps in response to the drought...the leaves are almost all orange now, falling rapidly...

Here is the stump of a tree limb that was chopped off to make room for the path. It looks so deep but is actually flat.

A moon that's not quite finished:

This next one is part of a new story cloth.  I'll say more about it in another post, because it represents a new train of thought, a metaphysical train of thought, and the words haven't lined up right just yet:

And here is the next phase of this one!

Tomorrow we're going to the farm to celebrate Thanksgiving, and here, instead of a picture of Gilly to represent the creaturely world, I offer you one of our local wild turkeys, whom I hope will still be foraging happily in the woods all day tomorrow and on and on.

I am very, very grateful to you, dear readers, for dropping by to visit, and I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!  xo, s.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

post trip post

Hello everyone.  I am home again and glad; it was a very good trip, just a little longer than usual. I thought I'd start with a painting I did years and years ago...every now and then I feel like bringing out the paints again, but not yet.  They are still sitting on the shelf. Waiting...

And just a very few highlights from the trip (I took most of my photos with the ipad, but I haven't learned yet how to post them, so we have to make do with regular camera pix, leaving out fun times in New Jersey altogether, alas):

Going east, color in Colorado:

The painted mountains at Glenwood Springs, Colorado...all the color had faded by the time I came through heading west:

Here is the beach at Truro, on Cape Cod, where we had our 52nd!!! high school reunion:

In the brand new Denver train station there are many wonders...pastry for example.  You will not find these on Amtrak unfortunately, because of cost cutting, but how wonderful it would be if that were to change...

Most of the time I've been quilting on my grandson's quilt, but I also began this story cloth...

this one is a memory of spring:

And here is Gilly, also glad to be home...snoozing of an evening...

That's all for now.  Love and xxx's, ~S.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

this and that

Hello everyone.  Am about to head off on the train again to see my far away family and attend a high school reunion on Cape Cod!  So I'm madly rushing around trying to get ready, and sweating profusely, as we are having a heatwave.  It's fairly normal to have this "indian summer" but I do miss the cool foggy stuff.

Every other year or so, we have a "Dinner in Albany".  The main thorofare is shut down, and tables are set up.  Neighborhoods get together to populate the tables, share food and make memories. This mural appeared just before the dinner:

I love this bike that circulates around town filled with a family and its children...parked for the moment during the dinner...

This is a shot of the dinner atmosphere, as the evening progressed.  Grown-ups and kids all dressed up (you have to imagine the costumes), with the moon smiling down...

I've spent a lot of time on this embroidery of words (by the Buddha) discovered on the internet, maybe facebook...I decided that rather than make an overall plan in the beginning, I would just work on the feelings I had about each word as it came up, hence a rather wonky look, but reminiscent of how life is when it's going off in directions contrary to one's plans.  As you might expect, it was a rather emotional experience, but quite positive in the end.  Lots of things that were seeking better perspective came up to be's not quite done, but close...

When I arrived at the word 'gracefully', this phrase popped into my mind, and so this piece came working on making a print of it...

Voila, the October moon behind the apple tree:

And Gilly, trying out version one of the security wrap that the whisperer suggested to help her when she goes over the top with enthusiasm.  She loves it! It reminds me of an obi and I think I might make one out of some more attractive material than an ace bandage.  But that is for after the trip. 

See you then!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A long time gone

But returned!  It was a happy trip to Ohio, and unfortunately all my photos are on the ipad and until I can figure out how to share them here, we must resort to pix from the camera.   I do think life used to be simpler.  Oh well, there's no going back.  Let's start with the newest update on the weeping guitar cloth (I have added the red fire pig, which was part of a lovely game of nouveau hopscotch that I played with the grandsons.  I am not so good at hopping anymore, but accommodations were made).

 Here are the results of the late summer dyeing with purple carrots, delphiniums and onion skins:

I've been taking Jude's Considering Weave online class, but have not been doing much weaving except for:
(can you see the little patch of woven threads in the center of the donkey's side?  I was experimenting with ways to vary filling the space.)

This is the beginning of a privacy shield that I'm experimenting with to fill holes in the fence.  I let the bamboo dry up because it was requiring too much water, then I had the thought to use it this way.  First I wove the bamboo through the strips of fabric, which was an old pillow that Gilly chewed up, and then I started weaving the fabric into the ends of the bamboo.  Note the iridescent toenails too, a birthday gift from my dear family/friends in beautiful Ohio.  Here is an older version.

When I take the train East, there is usually time to walk around a bit in Chicago and I love the woven looking pattern made by the windows of this building.  This photo is from 2003...

And this is herself, pretending to be asleep.  Once she hears the word "walk" she will instantly arise and smile for the camera, but I have made her wait, so...

I am hoping by Sept. 21, International Peace Day, to have my little shop better organized. So that's all for now.  We're still praying for rain.  xoxo, s.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A milestone

Somehow I have become a 70 year old person.  It's not so bad after all, but I was worried about it beforehand.  There was quite a bit of celebrating in a modest delightful fashion, and now I'm about to embark on a trip to see my family.  We're convening in Ohio this time.  I'm going by bus and train and there is lots of packing left to do before 5:15 tomorrow morning, but I promised I would post an update on my weeping guitar cloth so:
It's not done yet.  It's a landscape of recent events, more or less.  Except for the frog...I have no idea where she came from...

Gilly and I went to our friends' farm in the Central Valley on the weekend.  It's very very dry there.  Here are the donkeys:
They're so much whiter than the last time we visited.

And here is Gilly; it was hot!

That will be all for now.  It's 10 pm...I've been up since 5 this morning and there seems like lots more to do, but I'm about ready for a nap.  Love to you all. xoxo, s.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Treasures

Hello everyone:  Lots of newness around here. For starters, last night I went to a wonderful show celebrating a new book by local artist Corless Smith.  She wrote the book and then made exquisite fabric pieces to illustrate the text.  Applique, embroidery, some painting...all tastefully applied to get the point of the words across.  Each piece was small, but with so much beautiful handwork in it.  I wish I had taken pictures, but I did buy the reasonably priced book and photographed the cover (my photo doesn't convey the beauty of the work). I look forward to the reading.

Next up is a kitchen towel I bought from Susan Harvey of Thrums.  I bought 2 others as gifts and had to have one for myself.  It is the best and loveliest kitchen towel I have ever used.  So absorbent. The pattern is exquisite, and because the towel has selvedge on the sides, it doesn't get all crumpled up in the wash like one with a hemmed edge will do.  It's very sturdy too.

And now we come to the Great Tapestry of Scotland, which I learned about from here. (Kate Davies Designs blog)  This is a gigantic country-wide community project of the entire history of Scotland, conceived of by Alistair McCall Smith, one of my favorite authors...I bought both books mentioned in the several blog posts, and actually, if you want to look closely at the stitches, the blog pictures provide better close-ups than in the book, but the books are very very worth reading.  Sorry there is no picture to accompany this enthusiasm, but check out the link above.

Following is a quick look at a portion of a project I've been working on...more embroidery on eco-dyed wool.  I watched George Harrison's In the Material World and was moved again by this

Gilly has another new haircut, for summer. She looks completely different to me.  We have been having some issues and so are consulting a Whisperer.  Truth to tell, the issues began dissolving just after I made the appointment, but I'm very curious to see what will be learned.  Stay tuned...

And all the very best to you as this year of changes grows into August...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Catching Up

So much has been going on!  For one thing, it's apple season, and this year I'm trying to be more responsible about the tree's abundance.  The apples are quite a bit bigger this year. 

I bought a corer, and while there is maybe a little more waste, things go much faster...yesterday I made applesauce...this was the beginning of the process:

I liberated a big chunk of shelf space by getting rid of the hazardous materials that have accumulated over the years (40 bottles of stuff).  I'm going back to vinegar and baking soda:

Couldn't resist unbundling one of the cloths I made using India Flint's book Stuff, Steep and Store.
Here it is hanging on the clothesline, but I've made it into a curtain...the colors are a lot more vibrant in reality than in the photo. I'm pleased with the results and soon will unbundle some of the others.

India has put out a new book, the bundle book, which I'm so happy to have as a refresher she talks about printing on paper as well as cloth.

Here is a piece I made embroidering over one of my home-dyed cloths:
This piece was included in India's book, on a wandering wind, a portfolio of work by her students.  So happy to participate!

Also, I'm taking an online class with Jude Hill, Considering Weave.  I'll have pictures soon...

In other news, I have finally gotten a new printer, and prior to that installed more memory into my computer...that was a big retrospect it was quite easy, but I was anxious about the static electricity warnings...however, here I am, thankfully, to tell the tale, and the computer is much less sluggish.  There were lots of stray thoughts about installing more memory into myself, but...

Voila, some happy goats who have been hired to reduce the fire hazard in our huge Tilden Park.

And here is Gilly Marie (and weasel) in her new bed.  It's called a donut bed because it has a raised outer section that makes her feel more contained, I think.

Well, this is actually only a partial catch-up, but we're getting there.  ~xoxo, s

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Progress and recreation

Hello everyone!  Quilting the quilt is now a daily event.  I've been watching BBC Detective movies while I work.  This is the first 'family unit' of handprints that is on the back:

Today I started on the second family unit on the front side of the quilt.  It seems to be going along at a good pace, stitch by stitch.  I'm really enjoying working on such a big project. But I have so many other ideas going on, that today I began work on another little one...this will involve stitching a recent drawing on home-dyed cloth; here is a lone bundle of jacaranda blossoms and eucalyptus, steaming...

Even though all this work is exciting, it seemed a good time for a get-away. I haven't been seeing enough horses lately, so I decided to go for a drive to Sacramento to the Horse Expo.  A well spent day!

This was what greeted us first:
Not a horse!

Some more highlights;  pulling logs:

A beautiful mule:

A very plucky little pony:

Something I would like to go to someday:

There was also a cattle dog training session, but I was so engrossed in it, I forgot to take pictures.  Gilly was quite disappointed about that (she didn't get to come along),  and was a bit sulky and unwilling to look at the camera:

I'm trying to teach her the names of some of her stuffed (unstuffed) animals, but I get the impression she might rather be learning how to herd cows.  Oh well.  That's all for now.