Sunday, March 27, 2011



yesterday i headed up island a little ways to meet up with a friend for a walk along a river trail. we regularly plan at least one walk along this river this time of year, to investigate the progress of spring. there is probably another week or so before things really get going, but we were not disappointed. the fawn lily above is a case in point. there were hundreds of green leaves poking up, signalling where there will be hundreds of pink flowers soon enough, but it was very exciting to spot a couple that were already showing their pretty flowers. the shoots of trilliums were also coming along, but no flowers yet. i will have to go back soon.


i found two empty snail shells along the trail. my friend theorized they shed their shells in the hopes of becoming slugs, although it does seem there are more empty shells lying around this time of year.

new shoots

the salmonberry bushes are just beginning to show green shoots here and there. soon enough there will be delicate pink flowers brightening up the bushes too.


and one fat little bumblebee was working steadily pollinating flowers. here he was moving from crocus to crocus, but his bum was so heavy with pollen he could barely fly.

bright light of spring

and skunk cabbage! or swamp lanterns/lilies, if you prefer. despite their admittedly sour smell, the sight of these glowing yellow bulbs poking through the mud are like a bright light of spring. my friend jen is the best person to go on these walks with, the only person who would get as giddy as me as we spot various plants returning to the woods.

today is a bit wetter, showers moving through. i think i'll bake some bread and continue with various knitting and stitching. maybe i'll get out this afternoon in search of stinging nettle to cook up. what are you up to?

Friday, March 25, 2011

sand and sun...

low tide at kye bay

argh, this day was off to a slow start before it even really started. i woke up at about six, and had the thought that i should turn off the alarm so i could sleep in, since it was saturday and all. except... of course it's not saturday, which occurred to me a split second later. nuts. at least i didn't actually turn off the alarm. this just feels like a really long week, and i'm glad that it's nearly over, if not quite there yet.

miles of ripples

A and i went for a walk on wednesday evening, out at a bay we don't visit often. to my delight the tide was waaaaaaaay out, the sand bars stretching far out into the strait. it was fun to go to the beach and instead of turning left or right to walk along the shore just marching straight out to sea. reminds me of the endless stretches of sand on fanø, a small island where some of my family lives in denmark (if only i could prowl our beaches in search of little pieces of amber, not just shells and rocks!). of course on that long sandy beach you can also ride bikes and drive cars, so i suppose it's still a bit different...

lined up

the evening was quiet with only a few other visitors - a big difference from how this beach will be come summertime. we walked far out to one of the pointed edges of sand, and watched how the water was already working its way steadily up the ripples, claiming the beach for itself once again. i was amazed how quickly it was moving, how obvious as it filled in ripple after ripple. unfortunately all that sand didn't turn out to be full of too many treasures to be found by my ever-searching eyes, mostly the scattered shells of manila clams and the dark bodies of sand dollars waiting for the retuning tide. i did find the remnants of a very large moon snail shell nestled amongst the rocks higher on the beach, but let it be.

incoming tide

i've got some crafty ideas stirring around in my mind for this weekend, including playing a bit with margie's fabric. but i also hope to finish up this little hat i've been knitting away on evenings this week. a bit of argyle with a double-braided edge that i hope my friend will enjoy. it's smaller than my "go to" hat size, as she has specifically requested something small (and was years ago a recipient of a hat i'd decided was too small for me), but i'm hoping i haven't made it too small. i'm happy with where it's going, so i don't want to have to undo the whole thing!

new hat for a friend

wishing you a weekend full of spring weather and relaxation!

Monday, March 21, 2011

saturday walk

beach scene

in typical west coast fashion, the weather on saturday was a bit undecided. every time i would think about heading to the beach, the rain would start again and dampen (literally) my enthusiasm for taking my new little friends to the shore for photos and a wander. i was determined to head out anyway, playing chicken with the clouds by running a few errands around town while keeping an eye on the sky for my window. this didn't necessarily provide a clearer picture, as the weather was different depending on where i was in town, so in the end i just pointed the truck toward the beach, driving through alternating rain and sun on the way. you can see above the tumultuous sky once i was walking on the sand.

little shell

the wind was slowly picking up as i walked around the point, and the sand bars slowly disappearing as the tide came in. i had hoped for more sea lions but none were to be seen. i did find signs of why they are around though. i picked up the pretty pink oyster shell below only to find the tiniest of translucent eggs - herring roe - clinging to its edges. the sea lions are eating the herring that are in the area spawning right now. in some spots along the inside passage the water has been know to take on a tropical hue, a milky turquoise tint because of the spawn.

little eggs

i was filling one hand (the camera free one, of course) with small shells as i walked along, and when my hand was full i arranged them on an untouched spot of sand for a few shots. i seem to be spending more and more time lately laying on the ground to take shots; i'm enjoying that particular perspective i guess. no wonder i keep finding rocks and sand and other detritus that has followed me home in pant cuffs and pockets. while i still like capturing nature in its own design, i find recently a new desire to play around with her treasures, a la andy goldsworthy (albeit in a much more amateur way). while this attempt is merely that, a casual construction without a lot of forethought, i'm interested to play around further.

a small collection

after yesterday's gorgeous sunshine, clear skies continue today, tickled at the edges by light clouds. we'll see if it holds out, but there is a distinct feeling of actual, real spring in the air. feels good, doesn't it?


Sunday, March 20, 2011

a swimming crew...

i spent today enjoying beautiful bluebird weather at the ski hill, where there is also an unbelievable 7 metres (23 feet) of snow! I am feeling spring in the air, but it's still nice to get a little winter in before the close of the snow season next month. when that snow is nice and powdery, it's all the better. what did you do this weekend?

harbour seal

yesterday i went back to the beach in search of more sea lions. unfortunately there weren't any, but i also took some new little creatures down to the shore for a photoshoot. this little harbour seal is made from repurposed wool suiting. he's kind of a shy fellow, but curious as seals tend to be.

pacific white-sided dolphin

a friend of mine is a masters student in biology, focusing on dolphins, and she has suggested i make a pacific white-sided dolphin for quite some time. this little guy turned out to be quite a challenge, and has three failed prototypes preceding him. but in the end i hope i captured a bit of the playfulness of these creatures. this dolphin is made with repurposed denim, with a linen underside that has a hint of shimmer, and featherweight silk gauze patches on his flanks and dorsal fin.

grey whale mama & babe

these two also tagged along, my first attempt at a mama and baby set. the grey whales are reappearing off the coast here along their seasonal migration, celebrated this week on the west coast of the island at the pacific rim whale festival, so i've had them on my mind a bit. (as i keep thinking about zooming over the pass to hang out there for the weekend.) this pair is made from repurposed cotton canvas in a deep blue-grey. the mother has lots of scars and barnacles, while the little one has only earned a few so far.

humpback whales

lastly i made a couple more humpback whales to join the crew, one with a blue/grey linen underside and the other with a marbled blue/purple cotton. all of them are currently available in the shop, my little merry band of swimmers. i should be back tomorrow to share some of the other things i found on the beach.

i'm feeling the urge to do some other crafting this week, and i suspect it will be the knitting needles that get picked up first. i have a friend i'm seeing in a couple weeks and i hope to have a soft new hat for her to wear while we are exploring the windy west coast beaches (yes! i am going to the west coast of the island in april!). there is lots of squishy yarn in my basket though, so we'll see what else gets picked up.

Friday, March 18, 2011

special delivery

special delivery

a few weeks back, i won a giveaway margie of resurrection fern was having on her blog. i was doubly excited, as i have never won a blog giveaway before, but also because i've been swooning over margie's gorgeous hand dyed fabrics for ages. when the package came earlier this week, it was filled with even more loveliness than expected. so i thought on this grey friday morning, i'd share some pics with you so we can all get a little colour therapy for the end of the week.

special delivery

there is a mixture of silk, linen, cotton and wool, a pile of wonderful texture and different fabric weights. i'm eager to dip in and make something - any suggestions? i think some of it might work to make a beachy west coast sunset sky, maybe as a pillow or small hanging piece. perhaps i'll see where the weekend stitching takes me. as well, if you have not checked out resurrection fern, you really should. margie's craft endeavours are amazing and inspiring, and she has a way with capturing the nature around her with her camera.

special delivery

i'm planning to update the shop this weekend with some new little animals - whales and other swimmers - and i will share pictures tomorrow. as well, i'm feeling the urge to do a bit of spring cleaning, maybe hoping it will encourage spring's arrival. so there are a few items on spring sale here at 15-20% off.

special delivery

hope these hand dyed colours brightened up your morning a little, and wishing you all a great weekend to come!

ETA - further explanation of wednesday's photo: A and i went for a long walk along the beach after work, and were delighted to see sea lions (along with seals and lots of gulls!) just offshore, feeding on the herring that are moving in to the area right now. for the most part the sea lions were quiet, but just before we headed home some of them started barking away. i had trouble catching many shots, but i thought this one was kind of funny. i think i might head out there again this weekend in hopes of watching them some more.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

march monsoons bring?


the eternal gloom of raindrops is getting to me a little, the constant rain of late turning lawns into lakes, and trails into impassable mud pits. every time it seems the sun might break through this morning, the sky turns around and closes in, turning to premature evening darkness and a renewed deluge of water coming down. sure, there's lots of green to be found, but i thought i better post some colourful reminders that spring is, indeed, eventually, hopefully, on its way.


the mini irises (top) and the crocuses above were found bursting forth in a park nearby. those purples look so good popping up against the bare brown earth. the irises too have those streaks of yellow like reflections of sunshine.

furry little buds

less colourful but still a ready sign of spring, these little furry pussy willows bobbed gently in the breeze of a darkening day, defying the cold wind with their wooly coats.

sunshine on my table

and to bring a little colour indoors, a big bouquet of sunny daffodils on my table. how are you encouraging spring in the waning dark days if you are in the northern hemisphere? or if you're heading into fall, are you soaking up as much sun and fresh fruits and flowers as you can?

Monday, March 14, 2011

another mossy monday...


more moss? yup. you should be used to it by now - it covers nearly every surface out here on the coast! another weekend walk, on a surprisingly still snowy and wet trail. the weather was quite mild though, and it was nice to walk with jacket open and no mitts and hat. i was enjoying capturing the close-ups of the moss on the trees we passed. i often go for walks by myself, and when i do venture out with friends, i wonder if i drive them nuts the way i constantly stop to snap photos. oh well, nothing to be done, that's just what i do.

moss coated polypore

i even found a few hardy fungi poking through under their winter coats of moss. as winter slowly, reluctantly allows spring to make little inroads here and there, i've been starting to think about spring mushrooms. morels, specifically. anyone have any experience? i had a lot of fun getting into mushroom hunting last fall, but i know very little about finding morels. it would seem they are partial to areas of the previous year's wildfires, so i may have to look into that more. however, despite wildfires being a large problem in BC during the summer months, we have far less on the island than the rest of the province (not that i'm complaining!).

red tips

yesterday's monsoon continued through the night and has only eased off late this morning. it would seem another system is following closely behind though, and the wind is already picking up again. so despite our increased evening daylight hours brought on by the time change, i'm not sure i'll be able to get out much this week if the forecast is any indication. here's hoping you are having a better weather window than i!

i am working steadily away on a new little pod of swimmers (whales and others), so there should be more crafty images to share soon, hopefully a few more sneak peeks as i go along too.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

sunday haiku

big tail, little tail

in stitching

stormy wet sunday
if you need me
i will be on the couch, stitching.

Friday, March 11, 2011

inclement weather...

{these images of a relatively calm marina with boats clinking softly in gentle waves seems a bit of a juxtaposition to the images coming out of japan this morning and the tsunami warnings/advisories here along the west coast. my thoughts are adrift upon the seas this morning, thinking of those lost and hoping for those struggling through.}

red boat / low tide

my new camera lens arrived on wednesday, and the inclement weather provided enough of a window after work for me to zip over to a nearby marina to try it out. with the gloomy lighting, and ruffling breezes prohibiting macro shots of branches and leaves, the jury is still out on whether the new lens is sharper. i will say, however, that i'm quite pleased with the noticeable increase in responsiveness and speed. later on i tried it in the living room and was impressed with the optical stabilizer that compensates under slow shutter speed.


as you can see, the storm clouds were threatening that afternoon. it had actually been blowing good all morning, and in typical west coast fashion, regularly alternating between pouring rain and sunshine creeping through. the clouds were hanging over me as i walked along the marina path and the low tide mud flats. this little rowboat in the front actually signaled a bigger surprise farther out in the water.

china cloud

the rowboat, in fact, belonged to the china cloud, anchored unassumingly in the harbour amongst a variety of other boats. the china cloud is a 3-masted chinese junk built in the early 80s by allen farrell right here in the strait of georgia, and sailed by him and his wife Shari for many years along this coast. a great book about the china cloud and its original owner is sailing back in time by maria coffey, a treasured volume in my local books collection. while allen and his wife have now both passed, the boat is owned by a boat builder and usually is moored farther south on the island. to find it here was a happy little discovery.

storm front

although i usually go for walks in the woods or out on the open beaches, i forget how much i like to be amongst the boats at marinas, the wind moving through creating a steady clinking of masts and rigging. when i was little i used to spend time with my dad at another marina, while he worked away on an old converted fishing troller that our family used to explore the coast with. i loved exploring the mix of fishing and pleasure boats, and the sea life clinging to pilings and docks. (it probably didn't hurt that he would also often take me for lunch or a small toy afterward). so much of my early life was spent on boats, whereas now i often just watch the sea from shore. perhaps someday soon i will have a boat of my own to head off exploring once again...

china cloud

Monday, March 07, 2011

moss on monday...

{full disclosure: photo were taken on saturday}

mossy roots

i went to the forest in hopes of some signs of spring, but none was yet to be found. the moss, as always, is lush and full in its many forms. the lichen too. so although it may not be "spring" green, here is a bit of lush green to start your week off. the sun is shining again today, so although it is cold, it warms the heart nonetheless.

moss fingers

green stump


Saturday, March 05, 2011

saturday ramblings...

a start

saturday is a good day for puttering. A is away until monday night, so i'm hanging out with me. (although the new upstairs tenants and their three small children mean there is no peace to be found - boo.) as mused the other day, i have started building squares for my new quilt. i'm making half square triangles, which are fast but pleasing. i'm thinking of a layout like this one.

stitching on the rocks

a new idea i'm playing with. i actually started constructing this ship months ago, but i'm finally getting back into it. thank (or blame) captain cook and the royal navy. the trick is trying to translate into reality what i have constructed in my head.

homemade lotion

i got some beeswax at the farmers market this morning, so i tried out this recipe for homemade moisturizer. i used coconut oil as the oil. it worked out pretty well, although my blender wasn't fully cooperating, so i feel like it could have been a bit more creamy. still, i'm happy with the result, and it's so much better than all the chemical-filled lotions from the store. i also tried to use a bit of my favourite aromatherapy spray, although the lotion mainly smells like beeswax. i'll still give a little plug for my friend Mia who is an amazing artist as well as essential oil mixmaster. my current favourite is her scent of the west coast (are you surprised?), a refreshing mix of cedar, pine and fir, with a hint of clove that i love.

new book/new bread

and some bread fresh from the oven. i've been making bread for years, but although i've made lots of good loaves and found many recipes i like, i never seem to find a final loaf for me. i think it has something to do with my tendency to always play with recipes, trying different seedy add-ins and ratios of whole grain flours. i thought it was about time i found a good book that would give me a better understanding of how bread works, so that i could play to my heart's content.

the river cottage bread book is looking very promising so far. i just made the basic loaf (customized with half whole wheat, and some flax, chia & sesame add-ins) but the loaves turned out very well, despite being a little too brown on top. this was also the first time i tried using steam in the oven to build a better crust. the result was pretty tasty, and the writing and pictures in the book are very clear. i'm excited to try further variations, not to mention the other intriguing recipes and options (sourdough starter, anyone?).

guess i should make some dinner as it's now fully dark out. always hard to motivate myself for a real meal when i'm alone. i'm going to curl up on the couch and watch sharkwater. hope you're having a good weekend so far.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

storm fragments...

washed ashore

yesterday the forecast called for a huge storm to sweep through the coast. the forecasters assured us of ferry cancellations and power outages up and down the island. while it's true, there was both of these things (although the lights stayed on here), in my little nook of the island i couldn't help but feel the hype was bigger than what was actually seen. by the time i left work the wind was dying down and the sun making attempts to peek through, so i zipped down for a quick beach walk.


the wind was not to be underestimated though - i was frozen through in minutes. i thought it was supposed to be march? every time we think spring is popping up (literally) around here, we get another bit of snow or a chilly storm. i'm kind of on the fence - i'm getting a bit tired of endless layers of clothes and the damp chill so pervasive on the coast, thinking of sandals and bare feet; but i'm also still enjoying the seemingly endless snow on the mountains and the good snow days that come with it, along with a good excuse to hibernate each evening. how are you feeling? are you ready for spring, already?

broken free

i'm a bit aimless this week, unable to settle down with any particular project. (sorry if this post is a bit aimless too.) i'm knitting away on the green socks, i've been stitching a mama & baby grey whale, and trying to make some progress on this beach scene that's been sitting in limbo for quite some time. my head is swirling with lots of other concepts, both for the shop and not. in particular i've been plotting on a new bed quilt in predominately yellows and grey that i'd like to start sewing. i think i've decided on a design, so maybe i'll have a start to share soon.

storm fragments

and guess what? i ordered a new camera lens this week, so i'm pretty excited for it to arrive in a few days. you may remember me whining about a new camera a little while back, and while that's not completely off the table, i realized a far better investment right now might be some new glass. i'm generally happy with my telephoto lens, but the smaller 18-55 kit lens that came with my camera (way back 5+ years ago) has never been as sharp or as fast as i would like. so i thought a little investment in something higher quality might help me see a little higher quality in my images, and make me happier.

enough rambling? hopefully i can offer you something a bit more interesting on the weekend, but for now i hope you enjoy the pics from my beach walk. that little shell at the top is a new favourite of mine - i'm thinking of printing one out to hang on my wall.