Sunday, March 8, 2015

Spring is Here

Spring is here in the Pacific North West.  The sun has been shining for days, and the weather has been warm with few clouds in sight.  I guess the downside of all this sunny warm weather has been that there is little snowpack, which could lead to fewer salmon this year and droughts for some later in the summer.  Everyone keeps telling us that this is not a normal winter and not to get used to this, but I must say, I am enjoying this lovely warm sunny weather.  I guess this is a way of easing ourselves into the PNW.

This is the view from our living room.




Here is a look at my sad spinone begging to come in while staring at me from the deck, while I was in bed with the flu.  I am happy to report that I have finally recovered from the flu.  (This is what winter and spring in the PNW is supposed to look like. )



I haven't posted because we then engaged some painters to come and paint the interior of the house.  The rooms were all painted colors from the PNW landscape, however my paintings and tapestries were not well suited to the wall colors.  Instead we went back to painting the whole house white like our Virginia house, a very Swedish look with all of our wood trim.  At the moment it looks a little stark, but I am sure when all our art is on the wall, things will look much different.

 In the meantime, I am contemplating my 2015 Fall Fiber Festival Design for Black Twig Farm.  It will be an intarsia project.  Here are the colors for the sweater, of course you can choose your own family of colors, but I decided to go with the maroon, reds, pinks and oranges this year.  I will post more as the design progresses.  Beautiful colors aren't they?  These are dyed from madder and cochineal.  Want some yarn?  See Rachel's site, Black Twig Farm...


 As I last posted, I am working on this sweater for Rachel's son.



I am finished with the body, now I need to start on the sleeves.  I hope to be done in the next couple of weeks.  It is nice to be doing something creative other than unpacking boxes and finding places for things.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Flu and time to knit


I have been busy for a couple of months either packing, unpacking, or cleaning. I am still far from done unpacking and straightening up the house. Then the flu took me on friday. I was in bed or on the sofa for four days. Now the kids are on midwinter break so they have no patience for unpacking.   So unpacking is on delay....

The good thing about the flu was the time it gave me to knit. I now get to knit one of my own designs for Black Twig Farm with their lovely yarn. 


Here is the kit for Rugby Sweater. 

I will post more photos as it progresses.

In the meantime my children have been missing good bagels. So this week while the kids are home we are on a mission to make good bagels. The grocery store ones are pretty awful. The first ones I made had potential as ninja throwing stars according to my son and husband. Needless to say those got thrown away. 

Here are today's attempt.  Much better. Will see how the family likes them and report back. 



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Creating a Home

Our daughter was less than thrilled with the move.  When we first told our children of our impending move to Seattle, my daughter was at first thrilled.  We were going to the cute little island with the great croissants and the ferry ride.  It was all exciting until the realization came that it was a move not a long visit.

A month and a half has passed since our move and our children are adjusting as are all the animals.  Our old dog Elsie will finally go outside without one of us with her.  She seems to think if she lets us out of her sight we will somehow pick up and move without her knowledge.  She even played with our younger dog out in the yard the other day, their usual game of tag.  Otherwise, she sits at the bottom of the driveway awaiting our return if we are out and about.

The children have adjusted to school and are making friends.

My son picked a room with the best views in the house.  He has a suite with bedroom and sitting room with sound views and painted a bright sunny yellow.  I would post photos, but you really can't tell what's going on for all the clothes on the floor.  I would like to say I was disciplined and made my kids keep their rooms clean, but I am not, and their rooms are a mess.

Linden selected the set of rooms with the forest view.  Luckily there was no fighting over the rooms, each had their own ideas of the ideal room.  My daughter has two connected dormer rooms with a secret cubby hole.  When we moved in they were painted what I consider an awful beige.  No offense Benjamin Moore, but I am not a fan of beige.  I kept thinking the room was a bit dark, and my daughter wanted to paint the room turquoise and we were worried it would make the room a bit darker, but my daughter and I were determined that it was the right choice.




Original color of the room.


Her pick:


What I then learned was that the LRV (light reflecting value) was 70.69 for the beige and 75.69 for the winter green.  Wow, the green is "brighter".  What a difference some paint makes.

Here are some before and after shots of her "new" room.



This is a photo of the closet that divides the room.


This is the "sitting" room space.


Here is the first coat of ceiling white on the beige ceiling.  You can see the contrast.


Here are the after shots.  I still have to paint the doors, so the first photo of the outside of her door is still beige, but I think the room interior looks great.




This is her room at dusk.  We just bought some Ikea cabinets in the corner, and need to buy three more to put across the back space for storage.  What a difference, no?


My daughter has a view of an enormous cedar tree outside her window with a bird feeder on the window, and a view out to the sound.


This is a view out from the bed side of the room toward the sitting room with her secret cubby hole in the right corner next to the little doll wardrobe.  The crazy dog paint by numbers were done by my dad in the fifties.  Fun aren't they?  They replaced all the puppy posters that were in her room before.  My daughter is growing up and ready for a more sophisticated look (okay, maybe you can't consider paint by numbers sophisticated, but compared to two dozen puppy posters, framed PBN's seem much more sophisticated to me!)


Here is a photo of the dresser.  You can see a framed poster of an 1800s Vogue cover that I painted in my twenties, and the fox painting that I painted for her two Christmases ago.  The cute cookie jar with the bears atop came from a craft show in Asheville, NC many years ago when I was not much older than Linden is now.


This is my grandmother's dish cabinet from the later 1800's that is filled with my daughter's treasures.  The paintings either side of the cabinet are her watercolor paintings that we framed.


A reading chair and all of her books.  A great nook for reading and getting away from her big bother brother.

A view from the reading chair back to her bedroom side.  The watercolor painting of the horses is one that I did when I was 12, not very good, but she loves it.  You can just barely see her little secret nook on the left of the photo.

She loves her new room, as do I.  It is now a bright cheery space for her.  Now if I can just get my bedroom painted!



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Big Move

I have been away from this blog for a while.  I have a good excuse.  Our family has made a very big move.  We have left Virginia for the west coast and are now living on the beautiful island of Bainbridge, just a ferry ride away from Seattle.  My husband took a new job and we thought it would be a great adventure for us and the kids.  We live within sight of Seattle and enjoy the ever changing views of the city and the sound.

There is not much project work with fiber right now.  It is mostly unpacking boxes and now I am going to go upstairs to my daughter's room and start painting.  I promised her a new look for her room, a beautiful stark white ceiling and trim with light turquoise walls.  I can't wait to see it, but first I need to get started!  I hope to be back working in my studio soon, but it may take a while to unpack.

Here are just a few of the views over the last couple of weeks here.


Seattle is obscured by fog, but the sound is lit up by the sun.


Seattle basking in a glowing sunrise.


 Another sunny day when we could see all the way to the Cascades.  Did someone say you NEVER see the sun in the winter in Seattle?


My horse checking things out in his new home.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Non-textile Summer Project

We are in the midst of summer, and the weather has been absolutely beautiful.  Today, the house is open because the humidity is low and so are the temperatures.   After a couple of brutal 95+ degree summers, this one has been lovely.  It is very unusual to be able to have the house opened up in the middle of July.  The bees have been busy gathering pollen from our lovely St. John's Wort shrubs.  (If you live in the eastern US, this is a great native shrub to have around that the bees adore.)





My children have been home most of the summer.  They just didn't want to be tied down to lots of camps and commitments.  I decided that it was fine.  That was how I grew up after all, few commitments and lots of freedom.  My children are growing up and I think back to those long days of toddlerhood when the days seemed so long, and time to myself was nonexistent.  Now what I see is that my son is starting to stretch his wings with his own projects, riding his bike, jogging, and generally moving on into his teenage years and developing a healthy separation from us.  It is bittersweet, but I am proud of his newfound interests and strengths.  He will be gone in a few short years and I want to relish the time my children still want to spend with us.  My son has taken on washing and waxing my horse trailer, mostly to work off the money he owes me on a misguided episode involving the app store, $200, and upgrades and prizes to games.  A lesson that I am happy he has learned as a teenager at home rather than as a young adult in college.  There were a few tears, but happily he owned up to the mistake and when I asked why, he, with great honesty stated, "I thought you would never notice."  It is always a good thing to check your credit card statements!  My daughter spends her time reading books, something she longs for in the during school.  She would rather spend a day with a book than just about anything else, thank goodness for libraries.

So, I my time has been spent with children and other projects.  My son and I have started building a table for our patio.  I am trying to instill the idea of self-sufficiency, making do with things we have on hand, and the idea of crafting your own beautiful pieces.  It does seem to be taking hold.  At one point in this process he looked at me and said, "This really isn't that hard, is it?"  Also, one of the treasures in our home is our kitchen table, a table I built with my dad over a summer.  I am hoping my son will cherish this table in years to come.

We or rather I should say I wanted a farm table, and I had my son sit down and draw out the plans.  We then laid it out and found out that a 78" wide table is a bit too wide.  I am hoping the lesson of laying things out in space will stick with him.  We revised the design to be 38" wide and 78" long.

We started the project by going through the wood in our hay barn.  The former owners left us with a bunch of oak fence boards and we pulled several of those, cut them to length and took them to a neighbor to have planed.



The resulting product is really lovely, much different from the boards we took over.  My son was shocked to see the difference between the rough boards and the planed boards.


Next, we used 2x4's and 2x2's to build a frame for the table.  Then, we decided that we needed to put skirting boards around to cover the 2x4's and make it look nicer.  We didn't plan for that, so I ended up just purchasing 4 1x4 finished oak boards from a local builder supply.  My son asked why we didn't just buy all of the wood there.  I pointed out that those 4 small boards cost more than having the rest of the wood planed.   Here we have the skirting board on the two long sides, and need to put on the two end pieces.



I wanted to use cedar logs for legs.  My son was very skeptical of this idea, but I was insistent.  We cut the legs to length and I put him to work on sanding them.  After several hours of sanding and a couple of days, we had beautiful legs for our table, and my son was now convinced of the beauty of the idea.


You can see the before and after above.  We took the rough logs from dead cedars and cut and sanded them to the state you see on the right.

Now, I just have to get my son back out to finish up the table.  We just got back from vacation, and I think he is enjoying just sitting around and doing a lot of nothing!  I will post photos of the finished table which I hope to finish soon.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Put on Your Highheel Sneakers....

Okay, so these are not high heel sneakers, but ever since my daughter who is now 10 had some beaded pink high top sneakers that she had as a 3 year old, I have been wanting a pair of my own.  One funny story, we were on a trip back from Grammy's house, and as we are boarding the plane, my then 3 year old daughter says to me, "The stewardesses are going to love my shoes!"  Sure enough, walking to our seats, one of the flight attendants tells my daughter she loves her shoes and do they come in her size.

I went out and bought my own pair of Converse sneakers after my 10 year old daughter bought a black pair with bright green laces.  I had the option of white, red or black.  White just seems to be asking for trouble, who can keep a pair of white shoes clean?  I thought about red, but went with the black.




I then tried to figure out what I would want to bead onto the sneakers.  I went with the old standby of  a floral theme.  Here are my design sketches for the shoes.




Next, I wanted to have an outline to follow on the shoes.  A trick my mother taught me she learned from an old quilter was to use slivers of soap to draw a design onto dark fabric.  It works like a charm.  What I learned pretty quickly is that I have less room on the shoe for the design than I had on paper despite the fact that I drew it to the exact size on the paper.  




I wanted to cover up  the insignia, so I went with bright red and blue on the center.  This was the hardest part to bead because of the thick coating of plastic used to print the insignia.  However, if your hands are strong you can use a thimble or a pair of small needle nose pliers to push and grab the needle.



 I haven't quite finished beading both shoes.  I have finished one shoe, and have almost finished the inside of the other with another new design.  My daughter suggested I bead on four different designs. Here are photos of the first shoe that is now completed.  Once I finish the second, I will take a photo of me wearing my crazy shoes, which, by the way, my 13 year old son says I ruined.  Although my daughter has asked to wear them as soon as she can wear my size, which won't be long since she is already in a size 7 1/2 women's!




Friday, April 25, 2014

No Sewing....But Thoughtful Design Work

We had a pipe burst January 25th.  Since then, we had dry wall and floors ripped out, baseboards taken out, and half of our belongings are stacked in bedrooms, bookshelves, and floors.  My studio is stacked in piles in the kitchen, the hallway, my sewing room, the bedroom.  My loom sits in the floor in the living room, which isn't all bad, since I have plenty of room.  However, things are just a mess.  Finally, this week after lots of wrangling with the insurance company, getting lots of quotes from contractors, and finalizing numbers with the insurance company we are getting the drywall repaired.  Who knows when the flooring will be in.... I am looking forward to putting everything back in its rightful place.


In the meantime, I try to sneak in a bit of knitting in the evenings when I finally get into bed.  The last couple of weeks there has not been much knitting.  Soccer practice starts at 6, so by the time I get home from dropping off in town, back to the farm to feed animals, and then cook dinner and clean the kitchen, there is not much time to knit.  I do get the odd moment in the car waiting.....

But, sewing is out of the question right now.  My sewing room is a mess, but I look forward to starting back soon.  I have lots of projects I am considering and two commissions for coats.  So as I drive around taking kids hither and thither, and running errands, this gorgeous coat by L'Wren Scott is certainly starting the thought process for some interesting designs.