Monday, October 31, 2011

mushroom monday...

the line up

i have been taking a lot, and i mean A LOT, of mushroom photos lately, so i thought i'd try something for the next little bit. mushroom monday! if you're in a fungi mood too, feel free to leave a link in the comments and i'll check out yours. the mushrooms are in prime condition in the woods, and i've been taking a lot of walks these last few days. with the time change next weekend, it will shortly be too dark for after work walks, so i'm taking advantage while i can. i've included names (above photo) where i know them - feel free to chime in.


rosy russula, russula rosacea

coming through the moss

the sickener, russula emetica?

bursting forth

polypore, but i'm not sure which kind.

peeking out

western amethyst laccaria, laccaria amethysteo-occidentalis

purple wonders

oh and, happy halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

bird season...

chestnut backed chickadee

it's bird season again, or at least this is when i start feeding them for the winter, and get enraptured watching them flit about in the yard. i can hear the chestnut-backed chickadees year round high up in the trees, so it is always fun when they come down to visit. they are such chipper little folk, often perching on a branch just a couple feet away while i put seed in the birdhouse.

pileated woodpecker

occasionally a bigger bird will pop in to say hello. i was enjoying watching this pileated woodpecker swing upside down from the suet hanger, when suddenly a second one appeared. this one quickly chased off the first and then settled in for a snack too. actually, as i type, there is one out there now, in the fading daylight. i heard it coming as it sounded its raucous call first as it swooped in. i'm a little concerned because the suet hangs on a fairly thin branch of the cherry tree, and it bows deeply under the pileated's weight. may have to move the suet if they keep coming back.

waiting their turn

the dark-eyed juncos make an appearance too, and soon enough there will be others i hope. but right now it is mainly a large crew of chickadees, and what seems like just one red-breasted nuthatch (below, sticking his head way in to get at the suet).

let me just stick my head all the way in...

i am getting better and identifying bird calls too, so when i walk in the woods i often know what is flying around above me. i also keep an ear out for the tap tap tap of woodpeckers, sometime pileated but also downy and hairy woodpeckers high in the trees. and the little winter wrens that flit between the low branches and ferns on the ground. are you watching birds this time of year?

pretty birdie

Saturday, October 29, 2011

for my favourite girl...

presents for my favourite girl

with three nephews, there is no picking favourites. but i have just one niece, so it is easy to call her my favourite girl. a couple weeks ago she celebrated her eighth birthday, so how could i not make her something ridiculously pinky-purple? i made this tote bag with some leftover fabrics from the quilt i made her last year, plus a sturdy pink linen for the bottom and straps. it is lined with bamboo batting for extra structure and then white cotton inside, plus a purple double pocket to store smaller items. i think it will work well for carrying her dance gear to and from class.

presents for my favourite girl

she has also been admiring my dreamcatchers, so i made a small one for her with purple yarn. i tried something different on this one by making the hoop out of cedar cordage, and i really like the look of it. i think i will try that again for future ones - maybe some for the shop?


while i was out taking photos of her present, i spotted this little fellow on my front mat. there are a couple steps down to the front door for our suite, and it seems that salamanders get stuck down there regularly. i rarely see them alive though - they seem to find their way into the house and then disappear, until i am cleaning under the stove or behind the recycling bins, and find their dried bodies. ewww. anyway, i was happy to rescue this guy and send him back out on the lawn - much better than coming inside!

the wind seems to be picking up outside and i think rain might soon follow. i think i'll head out for a woodsy walk before it gets much later in the afternoon. then back home to make some pumpkin soup, and curl up for a cozy evening with A, maybe watch a movie. what are you up to today?

Friday, October 28, 2011

oh hello...

fancy meeting you here. i have returned - i hope you may have stayed to hang out with me. I'm up and running with a new laptop, and getting settled in. while i managed to get much of my old files onto my external drive before the other mac failed, things like my music, emails, and bookmarked websites are something i'm starting over with. if there is a blog or some music you're loving right now, please let me know - i'm trying to remember all my favourites, but also this 'house cleaning' is kind of liberating at the same time.

i'm back

the past week the weather has been mostly wet, with a fair bit of wind as well. however, on several days the sky has unceremoniously cleared just as i was finishing work, allowing me to get out for a quick walk in the waning daylight. i hope to share some photos from these walks over the next little bit, but i thought i'd start with my beach walk from last friday. it has been a stormy day, and although the wind has mostly calmed down when my boots hit the sand, the waves were still big and unruly.

storm waves and beach debris

whales at the beach

i took a few of my whales to the beach, and they perched on a log together near the water's edge. the waves got a bit close at times, and i couldn't help wondering if they were wishing to be swept away, out to sea, off to explore the ocean depths. looking to be free? perhaps, or they might just be looking for a good companion to hang out with in a nice dry home. wild waves are fun, but so is a cosy home when the cold wind is blowing.

after the storm

after the storm

the swirling clouds and setting sun were beautiful over the glacier and surrounding mountains. there was fresh snow up there today, and a late october chill has settled on the valley. winter is on it's way. i hope you're keeping warm this weekend!


a few things i'm liking this week:
• this cranberry orange bread seems like a perfect treat on a late autumn day
• i'm thinking about making my own wool wrap for my camera, when i don't feel like hauling my large bag. maybe with some hand dyed wool?
kathryn clark's been talking about boro a lot lately, and i'm feeling very inspired. i think i might need more boro'd clothing...
• and maybe boro'd furniture. amanda's patchwork chair has me thinking of patching my blue chair with lots of blue scraps, giving it a new personality.

friday flickr faves: waning autumn edition

friday flickr faves

1. Untitled, 2. Untitled, 3. East Fork Valley_Q2E9198, 4. autumn walk no.8, 5. Rosewall Creek - Fall study 2, 6. wind and rain, 7. flammulina velutipes, 8. Untitled, 9. Fall Creek Leaves, 10. Autumn color week: : Orange, 11. A blustery day..., 12. Bits of Light, 13. another one, further along., 14. Untitled, 15. Supper, 16. Untitled


hope these lovely shots inspire you to do a little autumn exploring this weekend, a breath of fresh air and a little admiration of nature as it continues to close up shop for winter. in exciting news, my new mac arrived yesterday, so i promise there will be new original content this weekend! i know! just need to finish installing all my software so i can sort through my raw photo files and share some of my life in the last week or so. several walks in forest and at the beach, including one where i brought a pod of whales along; some birthday crafting for my favourite little girl; lots of birds at the feeder, and some new stitching for the shop. i hope you'll come back tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

custom order starfish...

sea stars

just wanted to let you know that you can now custom order sets of three sea stars. mix and match from the ones above, or choose three of a kind. they are great for gifting or using as an accent on present wrapping, coastal holiday decorating, or just to enjoy year round!


in other news, i have a new laptop headed my way hopefully by the end of this week, and then we should be back to regularly scheduled programming. in the meantime, it's surprising how much more productive i'm being with all this forced computer-free time! i am stitching away on a little fleet of whales and maybe some other goodies to share soon.

wishing you a great week!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

just in case you should wonder...

my long faithful mac seems to have called it quits. things will unfortunately be a little quiet here and in the shop until i suck it up and load up the credit card with the cost of a new one. hopefully will be sometime this coming week, so i hope you will stick around.

i went on a walk today with some family and saw an unbelievable number of mushrooms. once i'm up and running again i'll be sharing those pics along with some other things that have been keeping me busy. hope you're having a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

out for a walk...

evening through the trees

sunday evening. out for a small ramble along the trails right near my home, through young woods of alders and maples, the occasional conifer. the ground here is littered with leaves turning brown now, a blanket for the earth as it begins to nod off in the early stages of its long winter's nap. i have been trying to get out for lots of walks these recent evenings, savouring those last bits of light. soon enough it will be dark before i even finish work, and there will be little chance to venture into the trees except on weekends. but if one wanders through the leaves now, there are plenty of treasures to be found, if you keep your eyes open...

little family

little wings

poking up to say hello

nature therapy of the best kind. a little something to help gain a few clear breaths, let my shoulders relax a bit. a few moments of peace in what seems to be a hectic life these days. thanks to all of you who stop by here to visit me, even when i don't feel like talking much. we've had a bit of clear weather, nice fall days, although the rain seems like it will be creeping back in now for a little bit. hope you're keeping warm as autumn's chill takes hold.


ps - i just signed up for the sketchbook project. i wanted to for the past couple years but held off for some reason. i think part of it may have been that the tour of all the finished books wasn't coming anywhere near where i live so i wouldn't be able to see them. this year the tour is coming to vancouver though, so i decided just to jump in. i know there's a few artsy/craftsy readers out there who would make excellent sketchbooks, if you've never signed up before...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

on the boat

are you taking part in saving sunday on flickr yet? the group description reads:

saving a single moment from sunday.
a quiet retrospective.
taking sunday back to a place of rest, a preparing for what lies ahead.
a moment captured for one to come back to during the week.

i like that. and that is just what the moment above was. a momentary pause on the journey home, and little time to stare out the windows at the sea as we travelled between the mainland and our island. hope you all had a bit of time for quiet retrospective this sunday.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

treasure pouch...

a little pouch

a little pouch

a little pouch

i mentioned nearly a week ago that i was playing around with something new. a little patchwork pouch, stitched up with natural dyed silks and linens and strips of cedar bark, hanging from a length of cordage from more cedar bark and a few lengths of super soft merino wool. while i love to make stitched creatures and hanging art pieces, there is something about handmade items you can wear and keep close that really appeals to me. i have been making clothing for many years, but i've only tried ornamental pieces here and there. i know it is something i will continue to experiment with.

up early tomorrow morning to head south, so i will wish you a happy weekend now. hope the shortening autumn days still allow you to get out for a bit of fresh air and exploring the beauty of the season!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

plush you...

Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale

this friday october 14, from 5-9pm, is the opening of plush you at schmancy in seattle. i hope you'll stop by if you are in the area. i believe it runs for a few weeks, so even if you can't make it to the opening perhaps you can visit later on. it sounds like there will be an amazing array of plush creatures from a talented and varied group of artists. i feel very honoured to be a part of it. and i'll be there in person, should you want to say hello!

with the show only a couple days away, i wanted to show you my pieces for the show. with a limit of only three pieces, i decided to keep them all ocean themed, and i suppose that is what folks tend to associate me with more than anything (although i have been feeling the pull of land creatures a lot lately). but back to what i have here - three giants of the ocean depths, each in their own way. above is a humpback whale, quite similar to the ones i have made before. however, i did a lot more surface stitching and patchwork on this fellow, in part because i was trying to make the underside colouring closer to the real thing, with patches of white silk on the underside of the tail and fins, and mottled white spots along its belly. it is hard to see in the second photo, but the sashiko-style stitching is done in both white and with bits of blue here and there, to continue the blend between the dark and light sections.

Stellar Sea Lion

Stellar Sea Lion

my second piece is a stellar sea lion. again, something you have seen before, but i am continuing to refine the shape and look of these beasts. another common theme of these three pieces, and really all of my work, is extensive surface stitching to add detail and character. this bull sea lion has a thick wool ruff around his neck for warmth while swimming the north pacific, using a mix of natural dyed and repurposed wools.

Pacific Giant Octopus

Pacific Giant Octopus

this last beast was my biggest challenge so far (who decided octopuses should have so many legs??!!), but i hope you guys like the results. this pacific giant octopus (who is not all that giant) is layered with red cotton and hand dyed linen that is heavily stitched to help create the bumpy texture of their skin. while i was working on this guy, i stumbled upon an episode of the nature of things that was fittingly about octopuses. i proceeded to sit in wonder for an hour, amazed at how smart these creatures are. seriously, i could start rambling to you about all the things they show them doing (as i did to anyone i talked to for the rest of that day), but we'd be here forever. i always knew they were incredible animals, but i have an even deeper appreciation for them now.

all three creatures of the deep will be available at the show, or if you have a deep (haha!) desire for one you can contact kristen at schmancy about presales. anything that doesn't sell during the show will also be listed on her website afterward. or you can contact me at fogandswell [at] gmail [dot] com about a custom made beast just for you!

the sun is shining here and it looks to be a lovely autumn day. hope you're enjoying mid-October where you are too!

Monday, October 10, 2011

autumn in the alpine...

electric colours

little purple flowers

a walk with friends

today was grey and gloomy, the rain pouring down all day. after we got home this morning from our trip up to the mountain, we settled into the warm, dry house without any plans. after roasting a chicken on friday, and eating someone else's turkey last night, i've got two pots simmering on the stove, brewing rich broth from both of their bones. part of the stock is earmarked for a creamy mushroom soup tonight, probably with some grilled cheese - my kind of rainy night dinner. banana-blueberry bread is finishing up in the oven (banana bread with a last minute addition of freezer blueberries). and i spent part of this afternoon stitching on some starfish for a custom order, and watching looney tunes. yes, i'm a 32-year-old woman who still enjoys watching ralph and sam.


fall colours

Lake Helen Mckenzie

but yesterday! the mountains were beautiful yesterday, unexpected bits of sunshine poking through where we had only thought there would be rain. A and i and some good friends of ours headed out on a little loop hike up through the alpine meadows and past a couple serene lakes in the eastern section of Strathcona Provincial Park. we grazed on the lingering blueberries and marvelled at the rich fall colours of the leaves of those and the other foliage. we chatted with the whiskey jacks who swarmed in here and there along the trail, hoping for treats (and seeming wholly underwhelmed by our offerings of blueberries, looking for something more exotic). and i listened to a very engrossing natural history lecture from a budding arborist (and nine-year-old!) as we ambled along together. snow dusted the tops of the surrounding mountains through the clouds, and winter seemed not far off up there in the hills, a nip of wind biting our noses as we returned to our chalet.

Autumn in the alpine

watching & waiting

it was a good bit of crisp fresh air on a relaxing weekend away, from home and from my plugged in life. i hope you had a nice relaxing thanksgiving (or just plain ol') weekend too.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

shop update...

Orca, no. 4

Pacific White-Sided Dolphin, no.2

Boro Grey Whale, no.4

Orca, no. 3

just to let you know that a few new whales and a dolphin (sorry, as i write this, he's already gone!), plus a couple sea urchins, have found their way into the shop this morning. the grey whale and dolphin are dressed for fall in grey corduroy and a bit of wool, something to help keep off the chill as they ply the first storms of the season.

after an early thanksgiving meal with friends last night i am feeling full - of thanks for great friends, not just all that delicious food! today is grey and gloomy and i will get myself ready for heading up to our mountain chalet tonight. i'm thinking handknit sweaters, tea, and some knitting to work on for good measure. what are you up to this weekend?


oh and just one thing - do you twitter? if you do, would you like to get shop updates that way? although i am fairly sure i don't need another reason to sit in front of the computer, it does seem like lots of people use it, and in some cases instead of facebook (ps, that link takes you to the fog and swell page - pop over and like it if you're inclined!). just am wondering if anyone would welcome shop updates and other short ramblings about my craftings over there. thanks for your feedback.

Friday, October 07, 2011

friday flickr favourites

friday flickr favourites

1. golden rays, 2. 26/9.2011 -, 3. rainbow carrots, 4. Winter Dawn, Bishop, California, 5. pebble color wheel, 6. a colorful giveaway, 7. 17 carol, 8. urchin collection, 9. The Festival of Quilts 2009, 10. sunset in the window, 11. radishes are just plain pretty, 12. peace, 13. coprinus micaceus with pholiota aurivella, 14. YIP 365.25 :: Yellow and gray , 15. Untitled, 16. rainbow rocks

as always, please go check out the lovely photos and the folks behind the camera who have taken the shots in this mosaic!


sorry i've been mostly quiet this week. i have a few new stitched creatures to share (and update the shop with!) but the light has been miserable this week for photographs (dark sooner, plus rain). canadian thanksgiving is this weekend and i've got some events planned with friends, but i do plan to put quite a few things into the shop tomorrow. i'll be adding the last two natural dyed urchins plus a few swimmers. if there is anything in particular you are hoping for as you get into gift planning for the upcoming season, please send me an email at fogandswell [at] gmail [dot] com.

i'd also like to share my pieces that will be appearing in the plush you show starting next friday! in the next few days, i promise. just a reminder that i will also be heading to Seattle for the opening, so I hope to see you there if you live in the area. part of our plans for this weekend involve heading up into the mountains as well, not camping but staying in a cosy chalet with a group. i hope to get out with my camera for a hike and capture autumn in the alpine, always a favourite of mine.

wishing you all a happy weekend, whether you have a long one for thanksgiving or not. last night i started stitching on something completely new, and actually in a similar colour scheme as is seen above. trying some things to combine natural dyed fabrics and other natural materials. i hope it will be worthy to share soon.