Monday, January 30, 2012

hearts of the ocean

hearts of the ocean?

love at the beach

hearts of the ocean?

i managed to get a little stitching done this weekend! it was frustrating and slow, but i started small and happily i ended up with a couple items i quite like. in honour of that little holiday coming up (let's be honest, my love for it centres around the chocolate), i tweaked my starfish rocks to be a bit more love-centric. heart shaped rocks stitched in soft grey wool, with a pink linen sea star holding firmly on. a sweet piece to gift to someone whose heart is with the sea, or to commemorate your own ocean love. they are in the shop now.

i took these heart rocks down for a beach walk today. it wasn't as cold as saturday, although threatening clouds hovered above and a sloppy southeast chop rolled into shore. only a few people passed me along the way, but a large crew of eagles soared overhead trailed by a mess of gulls. i hiked up a winding staircase above the spit to get a different view, and was rewarded when a pair of eagles swooped past just metres in from of me. while at the beach the ocean showed me a little love too:


(please ignore the state of my hands - wearing a cast has somehow made my already dry winter skin so much worse and hard to keep happy)

and should you be curious about the reality of pink sea stars, here is a giant pink star (pisaster brevispinus) i spotted along the shore a couple months ago:

giant pink star

ETA: thanks to those lovely folks who snapped up these two hearts! if you might be interested in a heart rock, please let me know and i would be happy to make more; otherwise i might focus on some other things on my list first. and i know a few of you are waiting on custom orders - i haven't forgotten you! i'm just testing out how much i can sew right now, so i haven't tackled more difficult items (whales!) yet. thanks for your understanding.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

looking down...

looking down

looking down

shades of grey

green and gold

moonsnail remnant

it's already been established that i am a beachcomber and a shoe gazer, but with yesterday's bone-chilling storm swirling around me i was even more focused on the shore below than usual. my head tucked against the wind, the varying textures and colours of some rocks popped out like jewels, and broken shells peered out from the grey backdrop. i am loving this winter palette of rocks still wet from the outgoing tide with the occasional breakaway sage or rusty hues.


some other things catching my eye:
• did you see margie's valentines tutorials on poppytalk this past week? the ice hearts are my favourite.
• loving this woven paper basket as a great use for packing paper scraps and a stylish holder for yarn or other craft supplies.
• i just discovered the stitching genius of oh mister finch.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

flotsam & jetsam...

sketchbook cover

sketchbook / centre spread

new dyeing

storm building

cold wind

>>> as promised, the final pieces of the sketchbook - a fairly quiet cover, just a bit of stitching in shimmery thread to add some texture. my original idea for the centre spread involved a bit more dexterity than i think i have right now. instead, i decided i would include a bit of myself, a little insight into the sketcher. plus a silly little poem. the book is now in the hands of canada post and on it's way to brooklyn. now what should i draw?

>>> i haven't done any dyeing in quite some time, but i've had some pomegranate peels in the freezer since christmas and it seemed a about time to try them out. i simmer the peels for an hour, and then strained the dye liquid into a jar with the fabrics. i let them sit for about five days. i love the buttery silk the most, but the two linens have their charms as well (the one on the left was beige to start). wild colour said pomegranate can be a mordant too, so i didn't pretreat the fabrics before dyeing.

>>> a cold wind is blowing today, and i slipped out to a new beach this morning, trying to beat the rain. as soon as i hit the shore i was numbed, and it took all my effort not to retreat back to the car. but i stumbled along on the uneven rocks, searching for shells and other treasures as the building swell stomped up the strait. surf scoters rode the breaking waves, unperturbed by the chill. i watched a clever gull hover in the air, dropping a shell to the ground. it repeated this action until the clam was broken and it could get at the meal inside, then did it again with another one. even though it was far across the strait, i could see a tug boat heel up and then smash into each wave trough, sending spray over its bow as it made its way south with heavy barge behind. the energy of the storm filled me up, renewed me. but i am glad to be tucked in at home again, sheltered from its frozen blast. tonight is a good soup night - white bean, tomato and bacon via jamie oliver's recipe app (sorry, no recipe link online). maybe another movie (last night we watched 50/50 - good), or maybe we'll just be wowed by the skilled athletes of the x-games. what are you up to?

Friday, January 27, 2012

wrapping it up...

sketchbook / page 14

sketchbook / page 15

sketchbook / page 16

sketchbook / page 17

and so the sketchbook comes to an end, finished now and ready to be shipped off. these are the last story pages - tomorrow i will share the cover and the centre spread where i took what may be a weird little departure...yeah. the 'story' is intentionally vague, so maybe you can make your own story out of it. on some previously posted pages i have since added additional details here or there, but mostly just slight tweaks to the drawings, so i'm not sure it's worth it to take new photos, might just confuse things. then again, i may take shots for my own records anyway, as once the book is sent off, i can't be sure i'll ever see it again. you can view the entire book here. thanks to all of you for your encouragement.

i think having a record of the book will be nice for reference for future drawing too. there are some concepts here that i think would be fun to revisit, refine. it's all still just ideas, but that's what a sketchbook is for, right? roughing out concepts and ideas to perhaps be expanded later.

speaking of concepts, i have a stitching idea that's gnawing at my brain, a relatively simple notion that i'm wondering if i can pull off with one hand. maybe. it's always surprising the things that end up being trouble - tying a knot in the end of the thread, for example (as became obvious while finishing the stitching on the sketchbook cover (seen in last photo). but just maybe...

wishing you all a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


sketchbook / page 10

sketchbook / page 11

sketchbook / page 12

sketchbook / page 13

the next set of pages from the sketchbook. time is getting tight, just one more week until it needs to be out in the mail. i hope to get it wrapped up by friday. i'm actually done all the drawing i think, and most of the cover art. but the centre spread is still empty. i have hopes to try something a little different there, but i need to get working on it instead of just thinking about it. i am frustrated with how my book has turned out, as i had hoped for much more. yet at the same time this re-immersal in drawing has made me think about other ideas for playing around with my sketches, other mediums for them. we'll see. the problem with being a bit laid up right now means i have way too much time to think. unfortunately i am skilled at both never being satisfied with my life as it is now, and being alarmingly unambitious in actually doing something about it. so i'm full of ideas, but who knows if they will ever happen.

and if that sounds negative to you, well at least i can share some good news. i had my first follow-up with the surgeon today about my wrist. things look pretty good on the x-ray, so i just have to keep healing. they removed my giant splint/bandage and i got my first real look at the four pins (below) holding my arm in place. gross. i now have a cast in place again, which seems so much smaller than what was there this morning - yay, suddenly my wardrobe options have opened up a little more! anyway, those pins are still in there, and will come out when the cast comes off in four weeks. that sounds like it will be rainbows and unicorns (ha!) but at least there is an end date in sight, when i can start to flex my wrist freely and have a shower without a garbage bag on my arm. but even before then, i'm plotting if there might be some crafting i can do, something easy that won't cause too much stress. maybe. first though, must finish the sketchbook!

>>> i was just about to publish this post, when i saw the comments people have added to this photo on flickr, calling me captain hook. maybe the centre spread of my shipwreck themed book should have a different plan than i thought...

 Um, gross

Sunday, January 22, 2012



at the edge




see? i told you our ice and snow wonderland was about to disappear in a coastal monsoon. the rest of friday a flood of water swept down and turned the fresh snow into a sloppy mess. it rained through much of the night, but a window of blue appeared in the sky in time for a saturday morning walk. we crossed precarious bridges over melting ponds and climbed up through the woods as the trees creaked in the wind around us. the wind came through in freight train gusts, swirling around us and refreshing the air. the moss on the trees is so vibrantly green right now, lush with rainwater and set off against the last of the snow. the forest feels so alive in a moment like that.

today we are back to monsoon weather, the west coast kind backed by a howling storm. around our little home we are mostly sheltered from these winds, but today the tall cedars outside are swaying mightily and the smaller trees and bushes continually rustling. a day for inside work - perhaps i can finish my sketchbook? here's hoping the power stays on.

>>> i seem to be getting really in the habit of taking pictures of my feet. here's hoping you'll indulge my little quirk. and really, i do have other shoes - these boots just happen to be the best for walks, especially the slushy, sloppy kind.

>>> sending some positive thoughts to my parents - they are trying to escape the cold wet coast today to head for mexico, but currently they are stuck on their little island as the ferry is holding in dock due to the weather. here's hoping it runs again soon so they can leave for the airport this evening!

Friday, January 20, 2012

friday flickr faves: snowfall edition

friday flickr faves

1. glassy chester creek, 2. bison 193, 3. -9 this morning...., 4. Untitled, 5. Untitled, 6. P4010156, 7. Untitled, 8. tikishla marsh @ 1pm, 9. horses, 10. Ptarmigan, 11. I Love Winter The Most, 12. It's A Winter Wonderland, 13. Snow Storm, 14. snow day, 15. clusters, 16. a winter coat


the snow was coming down heavily this morning, a fresh blanket on the ground covering yesterday's bird tracks but revealing a few night visitors, deer and raccoon paths meandering past the door. outside now is a winter wonderland... if you don't look too close. a squint of the eye reveals that it is pouring rain. the wind is beginning to pull at the trees, who will soon enough shake off their soggy white coats. in typical west coast fashion the snow will be washed away until another day, leaving us again with our perennial landscape of green and brown. so above is my little ode to the snow, our rare coastal visitor that too often disappears in a big slushy mess. hmphh.

be sure to click through and give the photographers some love! wishing you a happy weekend.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

well look at that...

Well look at that


snow bird

as with so much of the island's weather, our flurry of snowfall yesterday was furious but short. the powdery snow swirled off rooftops and around tree branches as they bowed with the north wind. but by the afternoon a slanting sun began to peer through the clouds, straining for a view of the cold blanket covering the earth below. a warm light to squint against in the sparkle of fresh snow. the air remains subzero though, the arctic outflow holding out until tonight or tomorrow sometime. right now it is just overcast and frozen, as we wait on the change in systems that will likely bring a bit more snow before turning into freezing rain and then actual rain. ugh, that's when things get really messy. so i will just sit in this bit of a pause, when outside is calm, still.


ms. pileated woodpecker up there was a visitor before this new snow came. so rare to see them down on the ground. she was actually hanging upside down from the cherry tree, snacking on suet, when she dropped down to the grass, picking up the bits that fall down. i think this same bird has been visiting me for a few years now. only occasionally have i seen the male (he has a red mustache).


for those who asked, i get my tiramisu tea at the little tea shop in town, where they dole out your order from large tins lined up on the wall. so that doesn't really help you unless you live here (eta: just found they do mail order). a quick search on google shows me they aren't the only ones who have it, so i'm sure you could find something similar if you desired. the description on mine says it contains rooibos, crackel bits, dark chocolate chips, and cocoa.


the arm is coming along, slowly. i will have a follow-up with the surgeon next week and i am hoping all looks good. really i hope that soon i can go back to a regular cast, which suddenly seems so much more streamlined than this awkward collection of restraints on my forearm right now. i have only a couple cardigans i can manage to ease over it all, and in this weather i need all the warmth i can get. i've still got over a month to go before i might be free completely. i know it won't be that long before i try stitching again, maybe even next week. thanks all for your continued kind wishes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

[not so] wordless wednesday

i was going to post the above picture without comment, but now it looks so absurd and completely in contrast with the weather outside. this was taken last wednesday, on a short, chilly walk through the woods before my surgery. this morning, though, is much colder. -7 C if the thermometer in my truck is to be believed. for many of you, that is nothing; but around here, that is darn cold. with windchill it is even colder. even more curious is that it is snowing, tiny little pinprick flakes swirling past. normally around here when it is really cold, it is clear, the wind blowing from the northwest. the prevailing wind, the one that brings precipitation, comes up from the southeast, and so when we get snow, it is the wind making that turn and starting to warm things up (and our snow generally quickly turns to rain). but it has just been getting colder over the last week, and won't start to rise up for a few days yet. brrrr. and heh, thanks for joining me for this morning's weather lesson.

so i will stay close to my warm mug of tiramisu tea this morning, and watch the poor birds outside try to get their fill of energy at the feeder. i hope that anyone else driving this morning stays careful, that skiff of snow over the old ice has made things treacherous. or even better, stay tucked in at home with your own mug of tea.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

crisp and bright...


ebb tide

fresh air

on thin ice

we have had several beautiful days lately, clear and sunny. beautiful but cold, as clear skies in january usually are. down along the river and into the estuary the water is brilliantly calm, as ducks and swans paddle along, dipping and diving as they forage for treats. i have been trying to get out for walks here and there, to at least get the rest of my body moving even if my arm is supposed to rest. don't need to let too much padding accumulate elsewhere, if you know what i mean. i am itching to get back into some real activity, either physical or the more crafty kind. and really, i'm just itching, underneath this complex bandage/gauze/splint arrangement i have going on.

gentle snow is falling this morning. we'll see if it adds up to much, but it is quite peaceful to look at.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

the curious story...

sketchbook / page 6

sketchbook / page 7

sketchbook / page 8

the sketchbook continues, this weird little story that i seem to be weaving. i still have no idea what's going on, or at least only the vaguest thread that is stretching thinly from page to page. the order above is sequential, continuing from the last set. i do have an idea where i want things to end up, as now i have drawn the last page (not seen here - you think i'd give that away yet? ;p) and am working my back to the ones above. i just don't know what will happen in between.


a gorgeous day to end the weekend. A and i just got back from the beach where the sun shone brightly, cutting the chill of the freezing temps we have had lately. our voices were regularly interrupted by the honks of trumpeter swans circling in overhead and alighting on the strait. it seems like more and more of them winter here each year.

a skiff of snow still sits in the shady spots, and a bit more is forecast over the next few days, if the clouds close in. i hope tomorrow there might be a walk in some gently falling flakes. i think it's a sort of pedestal vision i have of snowfall, which is rarely ever seen in real life on this tumultuous coast of ours.

hope you are all tucked in nice and cozy on this cold winter's night.

Friday, January 13, 2012

frosted friday...

frosted edges

frosted flowers

frosty morning

frosty morning

Frosty morning

today is better. thanks for your continued encouragement.

this morning i went for a walk with my friend Em and her energetic lab Lyla. we crisscrossed through the streets of her neighbourhood until we followed an old logging road through the trees, marvelling at the peace of the day and the heavy frost covering the branches and plants out in the open. while i can still wield my 7d with a bit of effort, this seemed like a good day to go light and give myself a break, so instead i snapped these shots with my iphone. it felt good to get out in the crisp air, take deep breaths and watch Lyla race back and forth in joy. a tap-tap-tapping caught my ear and i paused, trying to locate the source. i was rewarded with the sight of a woodpecker working its way up a douglas fir tree, a red-breasted sapsucker tapping along. while i regularly spot a few other species of woodpeckers in this area, i'm not sure i have seen this red-headed beauty before, although they are relatively common. a treat for the morning, even if i wasn't able to get a photo. after, Em made me tea and lunch while we sat and chatted in her kitchen.

tonight something between rain and snow is falling softly on the lawn, covering it in a thin, slushy layer. the same is in the forecast for the next few days, and i hope it will veer more to snow. my belly is full with homemade chicken noodle soup that i managed to pull together by myself (okay, i bought one of those pre-cooked chickens) so that it was ready when A got home from work, and now being topped off with a few squares of minty chocolate. i felt less need for painkillers today but a slow ache is setting in so i will take it easy at the end of this day.

here's hoping your weekend is starting off well.

Thursday, January 12, 2012



you're probably sick of all my wallowing. if so, best to just skip this post.

feeling very sluggish today, back at the beginning of the healing process all over again. my throat is sore since they had to intubate me during surgery. they gave me a cocktail of pain meds during and after surgery yesterday so in the evening i returned home and kept nodding off under a cloud of sorts, once i'd tried to scrub the dry coating from my mouth, and inhaled some easy food after not eating for nearly 24 hours. i slept fairly well, and A whispered in my ear before leaving for work that he had loosened the cap on the tylenol 3s since the childproof cap would be tricky with one hand. sweet man. but today i am having trouble keeping the pain at bay, even with the t3s. i know rest is the best thing right now, but i am no good at doing nothing. just gives me time to focus on the bad. it'll get better i know; i just need to climb a little mountain first.


let's look at good things instead:
>>> this blanket/scarf/wrap from wood wood looks gorgeously cozy. would be perfect in this cold weather as none of my sweaters fit over my bandaged arm.
>>> these pecan biscuits sound amazing, especially topped with the garlic herb confit.
>>> loving kristin's recent snow shots and hoping we might get a little of our own white stuff here this weekend.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

winter break...

no, i'm not taking a break from blogging, just making a really bad pun. my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon did not go as i hoped this morning and i will be having surgery tomorrow to set my drifting bone so that it will heal in the right place. yeah, not very impressed. and i'm sure my boss is even less so.

but i figured, why should you guys suffer too? enter code WINTERBREAK in the shop to get 15% off your purchase. the two green urchins above are still available, along with a few whales and some other hand-stitched goodness. enjoy!


was happy to hear that a few of you have also read/are planning to read wildwood. and the sun is shining beautifully today, so that's something!

Monday, January 09, 2012

january storm...

sea foam


fresh washed

froth & foam

gale force

a bone-chilling january storm. as soon as we stepped from the car the wind pulled at us and licked its cold tongue at our faces. i almost darted right back in behind the glass, into the cozy seat. but as A watched the windsurfers skip across the ruffled water on the inside of the spit i was drawn to the windward side of its long curving arm, where the big swells rolled in. before long my boots were touching the edge of the waves sliding up onto the rocks, and thick sea foam climbed up my feet. "no foam in the car" said A as i smiled sheepishly. for those who don't know, the foam is created by the churning waves, when the seawater has high concentrations of dissolved organic matter in it.

the energy of the storm was awesome, refreshing in the waning daylight. i would have stayed longer had it not started to rain harder. my fingertips too were losing all feeling, one set gripping my camera in a claw and the others pointing helplessly out of my cast and jacket, unable to be tucked in. shoulda found a mitten.


we just carted home several dozen bottles full of blackberry and plum wine, freshly bottled. we dropped off our fruit last fall at the brewing place and we finally had a chance to get in and pick it up. guess we better start drinking! ha. but still, it will be nice to have wine made from fruit we picked ourselves, for a fraction of the price of store-bought wine. A decided to take another leap today too and bought a beer kit, so that will be ready in about a month. i know what you might be thinking, but we're not actually big drinkers. we're just repressed homesteaders who dream of the day we can live a more self-supported lifestyle.


>>> one last thing - has anyone out there read wildwood? yes, it is a young adult novel, but i just finished it and really enjoyed this magical story taking place in a wild west coast wood.