Saturday, December 31, 2011

last day...

mossy bits

late afternoon through grasses

lichen on tree bark

sun dappled

through a window

these shots were taken on a christmas day walk with A and my mom. despite heavy rain in the morning, there was a beautiful spot of weather late that afternoon. a chance to stretch the legs and breath the fresh air after too much food and a stormy indoor christmas eve.


so here we are. last day of 2011. huh. i kind of ran out things to say after that. i feel like i'm finishing the year off on kind of a "meh" note. sorry to be such a terminal grouch. we shall see what tomorrow brings.

however...i would like to thank you for your support and encouragement, and most certainly your inspiration this past year. thank you to all you shining lights on the interwebs, and a few of you i get to know in real life! wishing you a rich and prosperous (and i don't mean money-wise) 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

two with teeth...

double the teeth

two sharks

 as mentioned, i made a couple ocean beasties for my two youngest nephews. and here they are - sharks! i was sure these energetic little boys (3 & 5) would like these agile ocean creatures with their mouthful of teeth, and happily, i was right. these are loosely modelled on salmon sharks, although i kept the details simple with little embellishment so they could stand up to regular play. one is constructed with repurposed grey canvas, the other denim, and both have soft cotton undersides. i stitched the gills and open mouths with teeth. i would like to try and make some more for the shop, but with more detail and texture, layers and stitching.

and in case you were interested, i did make a cape for the cat - a small reversible one so she could have two looks. my niece happily carried it around hugged to her chest, along with a stuffed puppy she received (of course dogs and cats can be the best of friends!).

wishing you a happy and restful weekend to cap off the year and welcome in the new!


other things:
>>> Tara's calming post has reminded me to enjoy these last couple days of the year, and i hope it does the same for you.
>>> while i rarely get too crazy for new years, i think these blood orange gin sparklers would be a perfect drink for the big night.
>>> and i'm kind of all cookie and sweet treated-out from the holidays, but these pb chocolate swirls are pretty darn tempting.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

the knits...

cabled mitts

ribs n' stripes

ribs n' stripes

gradient toque

gradient toque

cabled mitts

cabled mitts

hello again, friends. i hope you having some rest and peace in these last days of the year. i am tucked back into my little home again after returning home late last night. we spent a nice few days at my parents' home with family and friends, enjoying the festivities (and food!) of the holidays. last night we almost didn't make it home, as we spent a couple hours at the ferry dock as the wind and rain howled around us, not sure if the waves would abate enough for the boat to try one last crossing before shutting down for the night. luckily amongst all the goodies and treats being brought back home was a thick wool blanket to keep us warm in the truck, and A and i settled in to watch a ski movie on his laptop while we waited. but at a little after 10, just when we were ready to call it quits and head back, we were loaded onto the ferry and made the short but rolling crossing back to vancouver island. while i enjoyed my time away, i was just as happy to return to my own bed last night, and it also made things easier for A who had to work early this morning. as i drove south along the dark, rain-slicked freeway, i was startled by the sight of a herd of elk along the side, a large bull with an impressive rack of antlers in front. a late present just for me, a quick glimpse in the night as i drove past.

but! time to share a few presents made earlier this month and now gifted. some quick knits to keep family cozy during the cold months. fingerless mitts for my sister, a neutral toned gradient toque for her husband, and a subtly striped green topper for my oldest nephew. (for full details, follow the ravelry links.) it seems like i rarely get time to knit these days, so it was fun to do a little flush of it this past month, even if my hands protested a bit. i kept to simple stitches for the boys, and something a bit more ornate for my sister's hands.

today is another dark, grey day with lots of rain in the forecast. i need to do some unpacking of the things we brought home, and a trip to the store to replenish the kitchen after these days away. i just hung a bundle of bacon grease and seed-covered pinecones outside, a sweet gift made by my young nephews who know how much i like to watch the birds. and i'm feeling the urge to get back to stitching, in hopes of a shop update later this week. but a little fresh air might be in order first, if the rain holds off a little longer.

hope you are all having a good week.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

(not so) wordless wednesday

that light

that light

that light

that light. always appreciated on short winter days. and today, the shortest of all. happy solstice! i think this is a good time to sign off until next week. a little break to savour this time of year with family and friends. wishing you a merry christmas if you celebrate such, and either way a happy return to light as we approach the new year and the days begin to lengthen by little increments.


>>> if you have 20 minutes, a little of that beautiful west coast light can be seen in tipping barrels, a bewitching film blending the beauty of surfing with that of the great bear rainforest.

ETA: Annie says the solstice is tomorrow, but my searches show it happening at 12:30 am EST on the 22nd, which is 9:30 pm PST here on the 21st, so i'm sticking to it! i could easily be wrong, but either way, enjoy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

hat for the holidays...

something for me

something for me

as mentioned yesterday, i took a little time out from gift making to knit a cozy new toque for me. looking at my to-do pile, that was maybe not the wisest decision, but there it is. and here is my new hat. inspired by jenny's fjord hat, this knit up quickly in a wonderfully soft merino, with nylon in it that gives it a wonderful shimmer and shine. (too bad it doesn't show in these photos.) I knitted it a bit longer so that it would have a slouchy profile. I'm a sucker for shimmer at any time, but I think this toque will be especially good at this time of year, for outings during these days filled with sparkle and glow.

full details on ravelry.



other things:
>>> i just discovered the lost swell blog, and i'm in love with robert morrisey's seaside photos.
>>> the new issue of b.a.h. magazine is out. lots of seasonal beauty to eye.
>>> if i can find a bit more time, i think i will make up some hand salve to gift to a few folks.
>>> but first, i'm off to the kitchen to make some orangettes. i made them last year and they were delicious, so i know they'll be enjoyed by my snacking family this weekend.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

winter sun

winter sunset

sunlight through rockweed

winter sunset

such a beautiful late december day. almost warm in the air, a clear sky and a quiet wind. i picked up my niece and nephew late morning, and we sang along with christmas carols in the truck as we drove downtown. across on the ferry ride to my parents' home. with my dad, we found a tree for them, for us all to enjoy next weekend as we gather to celebrate. the kids conveniently disappeared while i did all the decorating, but the wafting smell of aebleskiver that my mom had cooked for a late lunch lured them back down. as the sun began to drop in the sky we took a little walk down to the beach, exploring the rocky shoreline. back up the road through the tall trees and a pause to give the alpacas some freshly fallen fir branches for snacking. we headed back across on the ferry just as the light was disappearing, and i dropped the kids back off at their home before my journey south, the christmas songs still playing.

hope you had a relaxing weekend. mine was pretty calm, although now i am eyeing this last week and tallying up the remainders on my lists. should be a full one. back again tomorrow to share a little something i knit for myself, when i should have been busy with stuff for others. oops.


did you enter jillian's christmas tree photo contest? you should. here's my entry.

Friday, December 16, 2011

friday flickr faves: 'tis the season

friday flickr faves: 'tis the season

 1. sunset in the city., 2. an ansel adams kind of morning, 3. snow white and rose red, 4. Untitled, 5. red gloves, 6. Untitled, 7. gnomey, 8. Sashiko terrain, 9. comfort craft, 10. Untitled, 11. an acorn ornament, 12. no red, 13. Winter White :: Wednesday, 14., 15. thick winter socks, 16. Addiction Mittens!


thank you all for you kind and commiserative words about yesterday's post. it means a lot to know that i'm not the only one. to continue in the holiday spirit, spread some love and visit these wonderful photographers linked above, for their photos i've accumulated in this red & white spread full of all things wintry and wooly. must be my danish roots, where those colours are the core of holiday decorating (and okay, a lot of things - have you seen their flag? the flag also being prominent in said holiday decorating, but i digress...). i noticed too that my own tree at home is decorated mainly in red, white and natural wood - the apple doesn't fall far...although in this case the apple also really enjoys a good dose of sparkle and shimmer.

hope you are heading in to a wonderful weekend, whether you are getting ready for next weekend's big show or just having a calm winter moment. peace.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


a little love

still two weeks until the end of the year, and yet today i reached a point where i just wished it was over already. call it end-of-year burnout. this seems to happen to me every December, but this year it seems my reserves have run dry especially early. i'll spare you all the boring details, but my regular job, my side job, a long list of to-dos, gift making & other holiday prep, a lack of 'fresh air' in these dark, cold days, and i'm feeling very run down and walking a very fine line between exhaustion and a full implosion, including the niggling feeling that if i let down my vigilance for a moment i'll get sick too. so at the end of work today i thought about just crawling into bed and not getting out till January.

but instead, i went and got a little fir tree. on these dark days (literally and figuratively), a few bloggers have been reminding me to pause and breathe, to revel in the glow of the season. thanks Maggie, Amanda, Tara, and i'm sure others too. that sometimes to-do lists need to go out the window. that expectations are not everything. that a little sparkle can illuminate the darkest days. i (and we) have never had a tree of our own. we spend each christmas eve at my parents' home, and have never felt the need to have our own bit of green. but today i stopped at a roadside farm with a large sign that read "any christmas tree $12" and picked out a small one just for us. i brought it home and nestled it in a garden pot with rocks for support, and hung my small selection of ornaments and a string of lights. and i plan to spend most of the evening just enjoying its glow. (oh and maybe watch a little charlie brown christmas.) i might make it through this month after all.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

greyscale morning...

frosted fungi


a new visitor


the world is rendered in sharp contrasts this morning, a black and white world as the stark shapes of bare trees are outlined against a white sky and the subtle colours of winter are hidden under a light snowy blanket. it seemed a good time to have a black and white post, to capture a little of that feeling, even if there isn't any actual snow in these photos.

the frost has been heavy these last few days, lingering on the ground all through the day where the sun doesn't touch. it's cold, but so beautiful to see it on the grass and fallen leaves, even on the mushrooms that are still stubbornly poking up on the lawn. and the cold has made the birds busy at the feeder, snatching up sunflower seeds and hanging off the suet. unfortunately there is a new visitor at the feeder too - a little red squirrel. i can't say i'm impressed; that's not who i was looking to feed this winter, edging out the little chickadees for some seeds.

on a completely different note, jillian has inspired me to try and take more self portraits. she takes such lovely ones, so i'm sure my attempts will pale in comparison. here i am making pizza for dinner. [a little side tangent: is anyone else alarmed and dismayed that the US congress has declared pizza a vegetable? ummm, maybe if it was the kind of pizza i make (last night's version was loaded with mushrooms, bell pepper & lots of spinach, which isn't even a really vegetable-y one for me), but have you seen the ingredient list for school pizzas (follow the above link)? i don't even know if i'd call that pizza, let alone a vegetable. what a sad state of things, is all i can say.] but back to the SP - who knows, you might see more of me around these parts! you can also see that our tiny kitchen is used to store mountain bikes and SUP paddles (the storage room to the left is also stacked full of all kinds of outdoor gear).

keep warm on this wintry morn! (or enjoy the summer day, if you are far down south!)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

shortest days...

stained glass seaweed


sunset, 3:49 pm

environment canada says sunset was at 4:20 today, but i watched the sun disappear behind the hills at 3:49 pm. these last few days before the solstice and the slow return to light seem awfully short, little glimpses of daylight between the long, cold nights. happily the sun has been celebrating the brief time it is above the horizon, keeping away the rain clouds as it glints through the trees and over the bay. warming my face as my boots navigate carefully over the sand and rocks along the shore, nodding at folks here and there also out for some fresh air. once it slips below the mountains though, the temperature drops immediately, icing my skin as i tuck tighter into my thick sweater and head back to the truck under the pink glow of the sky.

my fingers are crossed for a bit of snow soon though; a white christmas is such a rarity around here. or at least some fresh snow up on the ski hill - i haven't been up for a first run even though it opened a week ago, although neither have they had new snow since before the opening. i'm holding out for more snow with the price of a lift ticket these days.

tonight is the third night of advent...this month is just flying by, isn't it? i made some good progress on my handmade gifts today, and my mind is buzzing with new ideas for the shop. in fact, an ocean beastie emerged today that i would like to delve into again soon, with more details and stitching, some delicate fabrics and layers. this one is for a nearly-three-year-old, so i kept the shape simple and durable. i think he needs a partner in crime though, for my young nephew's partner in crime: his five year old brother. there will be lots to share in the new year.

for now i will plug along in these shortest of days, and knitting and stitching under the twinkling lights at night. i hope a little sunshine is brightening your days too, adding a calm and peace in this reflective time of year.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

nearly winter...

in progress

Amanda said it so well the other day: "it's the curse of the december blogger - so much going on, nothing I can tell you about." that is definitely a lot of the situation around here, many projects on the go but not much to be shared.

little ones

morning in the forest

this morning i stayed in bed a bit late after A left early for work, finishing up the last pages of my book so i could return it to the library on time today. after finally getting up i felt a bit foggy and unfocused so i headed out for a walk in the nearby woods. the cold air helped clear my head as i listened to the gurgling creek and the calls of ravens and chickadees in the canopy. i thought too i had picked out the lonesome hoots of an owl far off in the trees, but now i wonder if it was just the imitations of the trickster raven amongst their amazing repertoire of noises. the woods are shouldering that in between of autumn and winter, not quite one or the other. i am hoping the snow in the forecast for next week will actually appear, and give us a bit of winter blanket before the holidays.

now tucked in for a bit at home, wrapped in a cozy shawl and working away at a last minute custom order plus the seemingly not shrinking gift list. a cup of tea seems in order, and plugging in of the indoor christmas lights for a bit of sparkle and glow. i feel like i'm fighting a bit of something, so it seems like a perfect night to make the 30-clove garlic soup from the current issue of whole living (sorry, the recipe doesn't seem to be posted online). that and some crusty bread, maybe a glass of wine, sounds like a perfect evening with my man.

hope you're having a cozy weekend too.


p.s. i can't get this lovely new song from first aid kit out my head. love it.

Monday, December 05, 2011

modern boro...

new/old skirt

evolution skirt

evolution skirt - back

remember this? the evolution of my old jeans has progressed into my new skirt. i am continually awed by the care and recycling genius (albeit out of extreme poverty and necessity) of traditional boro stitching from japan. (if you want to revel in amazing boro garments and household items, visit the sri threads blog.) anyway, a lot of my stitching work lately reflects that boro inspiration, and this jeans into skirt was no exception. i don't currently have any indigo dyed fabrics, but i like to think that the many shades of denim, plus some linen, helps capture that indigo feel. this skirt too, i hope, captures some of the frugal mindset behind japanese boro, and the desire to make do, rather than buying something new. i loved these jeans for a long time, and when they developed some unfortunate holes, i put them aside, resisting the urge to cut them up to use in my whales and other creatures like i do with so many other pairs of jeans from the thrift store. i wanted to preserve them somehow. finally, i decided on this skirt. i have actually made a skirt like this before, but i like this new version a lot more. i think it is more finished looking and other than the original jean construction is all hand stitched. and this is just one stage, i think. i can see more patches coming, as i examine the thin and worn spots. i take that approach to most of my handmade clothing...always a work in progress. a continuing evolution. a good process for reinvention, recycling. making new out of something old.

and of course i wore the full length skirt to the beach...i am not always so practical about such things.

sort of

thank you all for your feedback about the little cat. you made me feel better about it and i am looking forward to giving it to her in just a few short weeks. i think i will add a little collar or cape for decoration, as i know little girls love to play dress up.

also, if you're curious, the sweater i'm wearing (seen best in the top photo) is this one.


speaking of fabrics and textures:
• have you seen the new holiday shimmer collection over at martha mcquade's scarf shop?
• and i'm smitten with jillian's new bolero, which i'm delighted to see comes from an artist on an island just a wee bit south of my home.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


in wait



a great blue heron, waiting, infinitely still. fishing as the tide ebbs in the bay, near river's mouth. aware of everything around, but never showing a flicker of expression, even as i crept closer and closer, eventually stopping at about 25 feet when the water curtailed my path. a majestic creature. i'm contemplating the possibilities in stitches and ragged fabrics...


sometimes i don't seem to have a good off button when crafting, like a glutton not recognizing when they are full. a manic obsession of sorts - just one more knit row, just a few more stitches. yesterday there was a lot of stitching, and a fair bit of knitting to top it up. i woke in the darkness this morning, quickly aware of the ache in my fingers, the dull throb in my wrists. winter is the worst time, even when buried under the covers, coddled in downy warmth. i am not complaining, just trying to note my problem, almost as a firm reminder to myself to take a rest now and then. i don't notice the pain while i work and so i ignore it until it flares up in clawed fingers later.

today i think there will be a lot less stitching, knitting. a small pause in the to-do list. a late late breakfast at a favourite local spot with the man. hopefully a walk in the crisp air. the packaging of some items set to ship to their new owners. maybe a touch of drawing in the recently neglected sketchbook. but maybe, this evening...i could finish up that toque?

wishing you a restful sunday.

Saturday, December 03, 2011


blue eyes


a little seasonal shift on this end, coming into december. the fog and swell studio (so, my living room) is now a bit more santa's workshop as i craft gifts for my family this month. i promise, there'll be more west coast creatures soon, but first i could use your opinion on something. last weekend while grilling my niece on what she might like for christmas, she unexpectedly requested a stuffed toy, a kitty to be exact. huh. i wrinkled my nose about it for a few days, cats not being an animal i'd every really considered crafting. but in between knitting the same toque 2 1/2 times (why are the 'simplest" gifts often the hardest?) i started working on an idea. this little cat is mostly machine-stitched for durability, out of cotton fleece (inside out) and repurposed purple wool, plus some other purple accents.

what do you think? will an eight year old girl want to cuddle up with this feline? i kind of like it, but then sometimes i'm not sure it looks like a cat. i am a little concerned she is actually thinking of one of those ultra fluffy stuffed kitties from a toy store. i'd love to think my niece would be thrilled with a handmade item rather than something generic from a box store, but more often than not my sister and her family are not those people. my niece is one of the sweetest little girls i know, but i want something she will actually like, not just pretend to like to save my feelings. am i over thinking this?


• i think i need to make a bunch of these pretty heart bookmarks as stocking stuffers.
• i've been adding lights and candles around the house to give some warmth in these dark days. loving this hanging candle arrangement.
• this chickpea stew could be perfect for cold days.